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HERd Management: How I became a dairy goal digger

Amber McComish for Progressive Dairy Published on 06 November 2019

Being a goal-oriented person has never been a “thing” I would normally associate myself with. This was something I acquired recently in my life. I am a full-time farmer, a mother and a part-time gelato maker.

Yep, you read that right. Some might ask, “What the heck is gelato?” And some might ask, “How does that correlate with farming?”



I’m pretty confident you are aware of the state of affairs of the dairy industry, and I don’t need to remind you. I hit a dark place over a year ago. I had just had my third baby, a beautiful girl, a few months earlier. I felt lost at the farm. I struggled with daily chores. They just made me mad, and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. There wasn’t anything I could do to change the price of milk. Everywhere I turned, I was getting comments from people about the life I was living and how I should live it. “You shouldn’t be at the farm; you should be home with the kids.” “The kids are fine; you should be at the farm.” I struggled to find a balance and look at myself in the mirror and think I was doing something fulfilling in my life.

I am a person of many talents. My love for cows is great, but I also love being creative. Just farming was not fulfilling anymore. I felt utterly and completely suffocated. I wasn’t filling my creative void – which I didn’t know even existed until a year ago. It all started with writing. Putting pen to paper. Pouring my feelings and my dreams on to something permanent, something concrete enough that I started to hold myself accountable. I told myself, “This is your dream. You need to pursue it. Even if you fail, you need to pursue it.”

At this point, I did not know Rachel Hollis existed. I hadn’t read any of her books or even followed her on social media. But when I did find her, I felt like it was meant to be. I still haven’t read her first book, but I read the second, and it proved to me I was doing the right thing and that I need to push even harder to accomplish my goals.

Here is where the gelato comes in. My husband and I have been looking into value-added products for a few years now. After a suggestion from a friend, we looked into gelato. This is where everything I read from Rachel Hollis came to a head. This was what I was meant to do. This was going to be the thing that not only helped me fill the voids but could potentially help us on the farm too.

Essentially I started setting goals – checking the boxes, if you will. I threw everyone else’s opinion aside and did what my gut told me to. I started filling the creative side of me again. I found making gelato to be fun and enjoyable. I found the business side of it (and still do) perplexing and challenging. I started to watch YouTube videos and read books on marketing and business plans.


I began taking classes like Farm Bureau Institute, online marketing and dairy processing courses. I started doing things my old self would have never dreamed of doing because someone told me no. The best part about it was: I started to enjoy my time on the farm as well. When I was there, I had initiative and purpose. My cup was full, and it was showing up in other aspects of my life.

Now looking back at all I have accomplished and all I have yet to do, I have built courage and positivity along the way. I did that. I said, “I bet I can do this.” I challenged myself, and I accepted those challenges and rocked them. Do you know what the biggest challenge was? You probably guessed it. Myself. Creativity may not directly pay the bills but, man, does it make you happy. At least it did for me.

I filled one void within myself and opened up way more than I had bargained for. So my challenge to you is: What void are you lacking? Is it creativity? Strive to find not a work-life balance but a self balance by doing something new. Set those goals to hold you to it. Goals don’t have to be just about your career. They can be about you and your own dreams. You may be surprised at what you find.  end mark

Amber McComish
  • Amber McComish

  • Dairy Producer
  • Darlington, Wisconsin
  • Email Amber McComish