Monday, January 19, 2015

January Thaw: Fresh Dirt

I love the smell of fresh dirt (soil is you want to call it that).  Nothing in this world can beat the smell of fresh, moist dirt.   Well, other than the smell of lilacs in the spring or fresh cut alfalfa...oh and the smell of corn silage, and yes I do love the smell of cow manure too.  But fresh dirt is one of my top 3 favorite farm smells.  Today we were blessed with a January Thaw, in Minnesota that means that the sun was shining, the temperatures were rising and we were enjoying our snow melting.  January Thaw usually means working fast on farms to clean out yards that are melting (frozen snow and manure is now movable) and clean pens and sheds out while the weather is nice and the animals are outside.  But to me, January Thaw means we get a small "taste" or in this case, smell, of spring.  Winters can sometimes be long and unbearable in Minnesota (like the winter of 2013-2014) and these little January Thaws really help to break up the weather! 
That sweet smell of soil is so refreshing.  It smells new and alive and it makes me eager for the upcoming spring season! I hope everyone in the northern states had a chance to enjoy the January Thaw!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How do YOU define Yourself?

How Do YOU Define Yourself    Lizzie Velasquez at TEDxAustinWomen

I LOVE this TED Talk! I am a big fan of TED Talks!  I can be a TED Talk junky some nights!   This particular one really spoke to me! When I was brainstorming the title for this blog I wanted something that was specifically me, about what I stand for and how I would describe my soul.  After some serious thought, one day, Dairy Woman Strong came to is how I define myself.

In my life I have faced my share of adversity, surely not as much as this young woman Lizzie Velasquez, but I have had my share.  I am completely amazed at the strength of this woman.  Instead of feeling sorry for herself she took her situation, made the best of it and used adversity as accelerant for her goals and passions.  What a great example for all of us!  She didn't allow her situation or conditions define her or limit her.  Her possibilities are endless.

I am a woman, in a man's world.  Even in this day in age, women are not always treated with the same amount of respect as a man in agriculture.  I find it hilarious when a salesman would approach me asking for the man of the farm or to see my father or husband.  Where did it say this farm is run by a man? Where did it say that I was second in command?  Where did it say I just worked on this farm?  I also find it interesting in the professional world of agriculture, how many times someone scoffed at me because I was a woman trying to tell a man how to run their business or make it better.  I was once told my emotions would make me weak and less influential.  Interesting...I think my emotions as a woman are a strength not a weakness. Those instances in my journey could've made me bitter, they could've made me feel small or insignificant, but my parents taught me better than that. 

My parents, both my mother and my father, instilled in me the importance of knowing and loving who I was.  I was bullied in grade school, made fun of in high school, and picked on a little in college....I was the smart girl with the big dreams of becoming a farmer of all things.  Every time someone challenged me be saying I couldn't....I fought back harder, just to prove that I could.  Maybe it's the competitive nature of my personality or the fact that I am a first born, but I have always tried my best and my hardest to get what I am really passionate about.  And for me as an adult woman....I am passionate about God, dairy, farming, and family.  I know who I am and I know what defines the question is...what defines YOU?  I define me....I am writing MY definition!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Giving Back....

I am working on training materials for the county dairy princess program this week.  It's hard to believe it's the time of year again.  It always creeps up on me so quickly.  I start in this program as a freshman in high school.  I had no idea what I was getting involved with, just that I had some good 4-H friends that did it and the swore it was worth my time.  Little did I know that I was going to be joining the ranks with some of the greatest women in agriculture that we will ever know.  Many of these women are farming with their spouses, some are farming with their families, and many are working in the ag industry, but one thing remains the same, we are all giving back.  The one common thread among all of the dairy women that I have met through the princess program is their passion to give back to an industry that gave us so much.  We were all so lucky to have the opportunities that we had as dairy farmers' daughters and employees.  We learned a strong work ethic, responsibility, drive, determination, honesty, wholesomeness, and most of all passion.  It was the ambassador program that helped me realize my passion for dairy and it is through the ambassador program that I was able to give back on behalf of dairy...and now I am hopefully training the next generation of young women who will also give back. I can only hope that these young women will be even greater than my generation of women ag leaders....I have high hopes because they don't even realize how skilled they already are.  It's an exciting time of year with lots of's to giving back to my next generation of dairy women leaders!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why am I Dairy Woman Strong?

Well, this is my first blog post on my new blog....Dairy Woman Strong.  I brainstormed for a long time what I wanted to re-brand my blog as...and for some reason I kept getting drawn to these 3 words.  These 3 words individually, or together describe all that is me and my passion for life.  I was proudly born and raised on a dairy farm where I learned so much about who I was and what I wanted out of life.  I gain a love of family, God, cows and the land.  I learned to appreciate the little things and life and to not take one day for granted.  I also knew in my heart what I was called to do.  I have a passion and determination for dairy that is almost insane.

Woman is an obvious one...I am a Proud woman in agriculture.  As the oldest child in my family, my father raised me to know that anything the boys could do I could also do.  There were contests to see who could stack the most bales between my dad and I and he taught me to care for cows and tend the land.  When I entered college I learned quickly that I am not alone.  Women are taking in roles in agriculture, where men had been the primary leaders...women are standing up and being recognized.  I will also note that I come from a long line of farm mother, both my grandmothers and so on and so I a proud Woman in Ag!

Strong...this one I am learning as I go in life.  I have been knocked around and thrown curve balls that I never saw coming.  It has been my faith in God and my family and friends that have provided me the strength to cry when I am weary, ask for help when I am weak and lift myself back up and keep on my journey.  Strong is not a matter of being tough, strong is not being mean, strong isn't becoming invincible...It is only when we become truly weak, admit our mistakes, reach out to humanity, then we finally find our true strength....I hope to share my journey of faith and passion as I try to be he strong woman that I am called to be. 

God Bless you all and enjoy Dairy Woman Strong!!