Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Dare to be different

Progressive Dairyman Editor Audrey Schmitz Published on 25 August 2017

In my father’s milk herd, there is one little Jersey that stands out in contrast to a whole herd of Holsteins. Although she doesn’t stand taller than the rest or match the consistent black and white, she isn’t afraid of being different.

Over a year ago, I made a decision to be like my little Jersey in a herd full of Holsteins. This decision forever changed my life and solidified my career path.



During my junior year of college, while applying for dairy internships, I made the decision not to apply for a highly-sought-after ag journalism internship. My parents encouraged me to apply, professors informed me after class, classmates sent me emails, and my academic adviser said it was a perfect fit. It was continually brought to my attention. But my mind was made up, and I was not going to apply.

You may be thinking: Why did I not choose to apply?

The truth of it is: I wanted to be different. I wanted to go off the beaten path and cut my own swath.

Loud and proud, I marched to the beat of my own drum and acquired the Progressive Dairyman editorial internship instead. Throughout the summer, I blazed my own trail. And it certainly made all the difference.

With graduation completed, I now write to you as an editor for my dream publication from Jerome, Idaho. For Progressive Dairyman, I am covering areas in herd health and feed and nutrition. I am ecstatic to be delivering useful and relevant content to our readers and connecting with industry leaders and producers from across the nation.


I grew up in small-town America: Axtell, Kansas. There I was raised on my family’s 90-cow Holstein dairy farm. I may be biased, but I believe I had the best childhood a kid could ever ask for.

From cow-pie golfing to calf races with my siblings when we were supposed to be leading them to water fights in the milking parlor and calf hut forts, growing up on my family’s dairy was exhilarating. So why would I ever want to leave?

I like to think it is my independent nature and desire to be different. While most of my friends and classmates either moved back home or stuck around somewhere in Kansas, I packed up, spread my wings and moved to Idaho. I’ve heard it once said: If your dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough.

Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means you’re brave enough to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand out from other dairies. You have a unique perspective to offer no one else does, so share it.

Whether it is your production practices, the color of the equipment you use, the management decisions you make, it is what makes your operation different. Therefore, I challenge you to embrace the ways your farm is different. Be that Jersey who stands out in a herd full of Holsteins.  end mark

Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairyman
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