Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Christmas cards, cows and the U.S. Coast Guard

Maddy Quast for Progressive Dairyman Published on 24 November 2018
U.S. Coast Gurad Tillamook Bay Station

Across the nation, people know the name Tillamook. From cheese to ice cream, both the brand and the location have created a rich dairy legacy.

One group from the diverse county, which includes farmland and ocean beaches, has found a festive way to celebrate this contrast. And Derrick Josi, best known as “The Tillamook Farmer,” is fully on board.



Josi, his wife and his parents all co-own and work on the family farm, Wilson View Dairy Farm, which has been in operation for just over 100 years. His farm is one of the 90 dairies that produce Tillamook dairy products.

He is very used to providing cows for milking and 4-H shows. But for the past two years, Josi has provided cows for a different kind of client: the U.S. Coast Guard.

Beginning in 2016, Josi began coordinating with the Tillamook Bay U.S. Coast Guard station to create a unique twist for their annual Christmas card. The card, which showcases the ordinary group shot, also includes an unexpected guest – a dairy cow.

“I was approached through my Tillamook Farmer Facebook page by one of the Coast Guard members because their chief was looking for a cow for their Christmas card,” Josi says. “The chief wanted something a little different. He thought that, being in Tillamook County, it would make sense to involve a dairy cow. I said ‘Sure, I can bring a cow up,’ and that’s how it all started.”

Josi’s interest was instantly piqued by the idea. Adding a cow to the card would certainly represent the Tillamook community and their livelihoods, so he agreed to the proposal. “I just thought it would be a really cool thing to do. It’s unique to have a cow with the Coast Guard, and the end result is amazing,” Josi says.


Josi, who is a fourth-generation farmer, was an excellent candidate to provide a cow for the shoot. His farm has a long history in Tillamook. In 1918, Josi’s great-grandfather began leasing the land the family still farms today. “We just got our century farm designation through the state of Oregon, so we’ve officially been farming on our original acreage for a hundred years now,” Josi says.

Josi’s farm is currently milking 500 Jersey cows. In the future, they hope to build new facilities to expand their production. “With milk prices the way they are, those plans are on hold,” Josi says. “But once the market turns, we’ll do some expanding.”

The first photo shoot took place in December of 2016. “I went up to the Coast Guard base in Garibaldi, which is about a 15-minute drive from my place,” Josi says. “I grabbed one of my kids’ 4-H animals because I knew she would be good on a halter and would do fine with a crowd. She seemed to enjoy the experience.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Tillamook Bay Station Facebook page lit up with likes and comments once the photo went live with the caption, “The station took its picture for our holiday cards. There is only one way to accurately represent Tillamook County. Thank you, Mr. Josi and family, for bringing ‘Jolly’ the cow to our station for a very memorable photo! Happy Holidays everyone!”

In 2017, the Coast Guard asked to continue the tradition but decided to do the photo shoot at the farm so as to showcase even more cows. “We did last year’s shoot inside the feed barn,” Josi says. “It was quite a sight to see all these Coast Guard members with my cows in the barn.”

The Coast Guard certainly had a good attitude about the photo shoot. In December, Josi posted a video on his Facebook page of the Coast Guard members riding up to the farm sporting their uniforms, boots and Santa Claus hats.


“Some of them love it; some of them think it’s silly – there’s a wide range,” Josi says. “Regardless, it’s a unique Christmas card. Tillamook Bay is the only Coast Guard station that has any animals other than a Coast Guard dog in their photos. They’re definitely getting what they wanted out of the experience.”

The process has not been without hiccups. “At 2017’s photo shoot, the whole production had to stop while our Lely Juno pushed in the feed,” Josi recalls. “We had to move the ladder the photographer was perched on and everything. I suppose that’s the trouble with shooting on a working farm. But it was still pretty funny.”

Josi says he expects the exciting tradition to continue this year and into the future.

“As far as I know, the plan is to do another photo shoot again for 2018. Of course, they want to up the ante again, and they were discussing somehow getting a cow into one of their boats. That one might take a little more coordination,” Josi says, laughing. “But I’m looking forward to it.”  end mark

PHOTO: U.S. Coast Guard Tillamook Bay Station posing in Josi’s barn for their 2017 Christmas card. Photo provided by Derrick Josi. 

Maddy Quast is a 2018 Progressive Dairyman editorial intern.