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Guest Blog

Read about different aspects of the industry from a variety of perspectives.

LATEST

Keith Cunningham went from zero to $100 million and lost it in a period of 3.5 years.

Emotions, excessive pride, greed and arrogance slipped into the way Cunningham ran his business, and he lost it all.

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More than a year ago, I received a random direct message (DM) on Instagram. It was from a female farmer out in California who I had never met. She asked if I wanted to join a female farmer group. If I am being honest, it was pretty random. (We laugh about this now.) Why would I want to join a group of women I had never met? But, I thought, “What the heck? I am a millennial. Why not make friends with random strangers on the internet?” So that’s when I decided to say yes to joining the group!

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There’s no doubt the dairy industry is in challenging times. Low milk prices, changing consumer preferences, devastating weather conditions and an ever-changing political environment has resulted in much uncertainty throughout the industry.

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One Saturday night, my husband and I got a text from our milk co-op with milk quality data from the previous day’s load, and panic began to set in. Our somatic cell count (SCC) was far over our comfort threshold of 100,000, and in a small herd like ours, the blame – more often than not – lays squarely on the withers of just one cow.

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In farming, as well as in life, things sometimes go totally different than what a person expects or plans. This last winter proved to be a very hard one with all the ice, snow and bitter cold. Spring finally came, and with it the realization that most of our hay fields had terrible winterkill.

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“My husband came in at lunch and told me the statistics on farmer suicide. He told me how hopeless he felt. I was scared to let him go back to the field.” 

“I am always so angry. I yell at the kids and throw things in the milkhouse. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” 

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