Current Progressive Dairy digital edition


Find out more about dairy farmers and industry experts, including the producers behind unique dairy operations and innovative management strategies.


“Activist” can be a scary word for many in the dairy industry. Producers live in fear of the power and abilities of environmental and animal rights activist organizations. However, Deb Reinhart, one of dairy’s own, could easily be referred to as an activist – a dairy activist.

“I want to make a difference in this world,” Reinhart says of why she’s devoted countless hours to various organizations and causes.

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For Loretta Lyons and her husband, dairying was “a way of making a living and wanting to farm.” Loretta certainly never expected her passion for agriculture to lead to a national competition.

Loretta and Hade Lyons purchased their first 150 acres in 1961, a year after they married. Less than three years later, they were milking about 30 head, while finishing their college degrees. Throughout the next several years, the Lyons milked cows, worked full-time as schoolteachers and raised three children.

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Aged raw-milk cheeses and a niche market have made Liz McAlister a successful dairy farmer in Colchester, Connecticut. Liz realized in the mid-’90s that if she was going to make it in the dairy business with a small herd of cows in New England, she must concentrate on the retail market for dairy products.

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Over 30 years ago, a group of farm women in Nebraska recognized a need to speak up for agriculture and formed Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE). Today, it is a national organization with local chapters and state associations in 15 states across the country.

“Most of our members are ladies who get the dirt under their fingernails,” says Tammy Basel, national WIFE president from Union Center, South Dakota.

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Robyn Buttars of Lewiston, Utah, has been writing and composing music for more than 13 years. When she reached a special birthday milestone in her life, she decided it was time to take her writing to the next level.

“About when I turned 40, I thought, ‘I want to write a book,’” she says. “So I just decided it was time to do it.”

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The dairy industry in south Florida has seen its share of changes in the last 70 years, and producer Red Larson has witnessed all of them from his start as a hand milker to the large dairy operations he manages today.

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