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HERd Management: 10 perks to being a dairy farmer at Christmas

Emily Zweber for Progressive Dairyman Published on 12 December 2016

1. You have a ton of places to hide gifts. The hayloft, an unused grain bin, and the baler you won’t be using until next summer are all great places to hide gifts until the big day. Shh, don’t tell my kids.

2. Everyone comes to you. Sure, you have to clean up your house, but that doesn’t compare to having to spend countless hours in an airport or in traffic. I will gladly swish the toilet bowl instead of having to pack up three kids and a husband for 
cross-country travel.

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3. Useful gifts from your dealers. You know it is the holiday season when your barn desk is covered with new hats, gloves and blocks of cheese from your dairy suppliers and semen dealers. Psssst. Someone gave us box-cutting knives a few years ago. We could use some more.

4. Instant cheese platter. If you are like me, you will forget to get a dish to pass for that holiday party. Thankfully, you have five blocks of cheese on your barn desk.

5. The perfect excuse. Uncle Bob is talking politics, and Aunt Betty is complaining about her corns. “Oh, look at the time; it’s time to milk cows.” Best excuse ever.

6. Your kid is set for the Christmas pageant. You already have a manger cow costume because your child was a cow for Halloween. Winning!

7. Burning extra calories. With your fitness plan of feeding calves in 10-foot snow drifts and milking cows in -20 degrees, you can eat all the cheesecake you want.

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8. You understand Mary. Poor Mary, Mother of God, had to bounce around on a donkey as they made their way to Bethlehem. Driving a tractor at nine months pregnant is probably about the same comfort level.

9. The manger was for safety, not comfort. As the Nativity story is read, you smile to yourself knowing Mary didn’t put baby Jesus in the manger because it was a comfortable spot. She put him in there to keep him safe from animal hooves, just like you have done with a pack ‘n’ play in the milking parlor.

10. Life is a true miracle. As farmers, we witness the miracle of birth and life each day. All God’s creatures great and small are a blessing, and we have the huge responsibility of caring for them and honoring their lives.

As you gather with your family and friends this holiday season, I pray that you will experience the peace, joy and blessings of our Savior. Merry Christmas!  end mark

Emily dairy farms with her husband, Tim, and his parents, Jon and Lisa, in Elko, Minnesota. She says being a dairy farmer at Christmas has several special perks.

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