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HERd management: You can do it all, but you can’t do it all alone

Terri DiNitto Published on 09 October 2012

Promoting agriculture and specifically the dairy industry is something I think is very important.

I enjoy telling people and educating them about the industry that I love so much. I’m often asked how I manage to juggle promoting the dairy industry, family life and farm life.

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I have to admit – sometimes it’s a struggle. My family lives on a 1,000-plus-acre dairy farm in central New York. We milk 540 cows in our double-10 parallel milking parlor. We raise our own replacement heifers, and we grow 90 percent of our own forages.

We have two boys, ages 12½ and 8. My boys eat, sleep and breathe the farm. As soon as they get home from school, they want to be at the farm. I have to put the brakes on and make sure their schoolwork is done first. I’m sure that will be a constant battle through all of their school years.

All of that alone keeps me pretty busy. Add extra activities and promotion – and it can get out of control!

Now that school has started up, things have gotten even crazier. I am PTA President this year, so I’ve added that to my already busy schedule, which also includes barn quilt painting, Women in Farming meetings, Farm Fest planning, the holidays right around the corner, helping my husband with whatever he needs on the farm and, oh yes, my household responsibilities. And I know I’ve left some stuff out!

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I’m sure a lot of you fellow readers can identify with trying to “do it all.” I’m not sure too many people can “do it all” successfully.

As I am getting older and hopefully wiser, I am learning that I need to do fun things for myself. This past April, I decided to try out for the play “State Fair” put on by a town Community Education Department. Never dreaming I would get a part, I was given the main female role. I had rehearsals almost every night for three hours and difficult choreography and songs to learn.

I am learning that I need to let my family and friends help me. During rehearsals, I wasn’t always able to put a homemade meal on the table for supper. Nor did I make it to every single one of my sons’ baseball games this season.

There were some nights of grumbling, but my husband and sons were good sports about it all. Thank goodness for Grandma, Grandpa and my friends! I wouldn’t have been able to do the play otherwise.

I am learning I need to not worry so much that my house looks like a hurricane hit it (and it almost always does).

And I’m learning that once in a while, I need to say “no” sometimes. If I want to be able to enjoy my family, promote agriculture and the dairy industry and help out my husband when he needs me, too – I need to say no to some things that just aren’t as important to me. It’s the only way to be successful with everything I enjoy and love with all my heart.

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I’m learning that I have a long way to go to be a successful juggler. There will be bumps along the way. But I’m getting better at it. And I’m getting better at not beating myself up when I’m less than successful.

I’m learning that life is too short to be pulling my hair out trying to do too much. It’s possible to promote agriculture and be involved with family life and farm life. I just can’t do it alone!

I think doing a few things at a time successfully is an easier goal to strive for. And once they are done, then I can move on to other things. Easier said than done for me most of the time, but I’m learning. PD

  • Terri DiNitto

  • Dairy Producer
  • Marcy, New York

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