HERd management: It takes leadership

Brenda Hastings Published on 31 December 2012

Herd Management

I’m passionate about agriculture and enjoy being around others who share the same enthusiasm.I believe it’s important to actively participate in agriculture organizations.

 Case Western Reserve dietetic students

I currently serve as the Geauga County Farm Bureau President and as an American Dairy Association (ADA) Mideast Board Member.

One activity I’ve been involved with through ADA Mideast is hosting dietetic college students at our dairy. These students are the future of the nutrition community.

Through their professional work, they will influence the food and nutrition choices at schools, hospitals and a variety of other organizations.

I’m glad I have the opportunity to show them our dairy and talk with them about what we do on our farm in regards to animal care, food safety and any other topic they have questions about. I also learn from the students and faculty about nutrition trends and concerns.

Brenda Hastings displaying

Through my involvement in Farm Bureau, I had the opportunity to host a farm bill listening session at our dairy this year with a local congresswoman from Cleveland. This event was attended by a diverse group from farmers to food program representatives to community garden folks.

All who attended toured our farm to see first-hand where our animals live, what they eat, how we care for them and the food safety measures we take.

I explained to the congresswoman how the farm bill and agriculture policy impacts our dairy farm. This event brought farm and city together in an important discussion about how federal policies impact food.

Breanda Hastings & Congresswoman Fudge

I admire dairy producers who get involved in organizations to work towards the greater good of the dairy industry.

Dairy leaders stay up-to-date on important issues that impact their farm and the industry as a whole: milk pricing, feed costs/availability, state and federal policies, animal welfare issues and consumer trends, to name a few.

It’s also important to be aware of what animal agriculture adversaries are saying and doing. Leaders have the courage to share their opinion and listen to others. People look to leaders as a reliable and trusted source.

I strive to be that trusted source for consumers with questions about dairy farms. Through my involvement with ADA Mideast and Farm Bureau, I’ve developed the tools necessary to advocate for dairy to make a difference.

 Ohio Farm Bureau Farm Bill Listening Session

Dairy producers are few in numbers, so it’s important we speak up to have a voice. I may not agree with every issue or policy the Farm Bureau or ADA Mideast supports, but I strongly believe in the overall mission of these organizations.

At the end of the day, I look at the big picture of supporting animal agriculture. I know that if I want to have an impact and a voice, working in cooperation with organizations will get me much farther than trying to go at it on my own.

Being involved also provides a great opportunity to meet people with the same passion for dairy and agriculture. Leaders are connected and engaged.

I don’t like to sit around watching others make decisions that will impact my farm; I want to be involved in the process.

Dairy farming is a family-based business full of real people who love what they do. I value that and am proud to be part of it. I want the dairy industry to be strong, profitable and sustainable. I want to be involved in making that happen! PD

PHOTO 1: Case Western Reserve dietetic students visiting Hastings Dairy. (Brenda is in the red coat.)

PHOTO 2: Brenda displays pans of food and explains what cows eat to visitors attending an event at her farm.

PHOTO 3: Brenda and Congresswoman Fudge looking at the calf hutches at Hastings Dairy.

PHOTO 4: Brenda addresses the group at her farm during the Ohio Farm Bureau Farm Bill Listening Session with Congresswoman Fudge at Hastings Dairy. Photos provided by Brenda Hastings.


Brenda Hastings
Dairy producer
Geauga County, Ohio

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