Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Farm #LikeAGirl

I farm #LikeAGirl.   After watching the re-airing of the Always ad during the Super Bowl I have been thinking about all the things in my life that I have been doing #LikeAGirl.  The first thing that came to mind was farming #LikeAGirl.  I love the fact that I was blessed with a father and grandfather that were the only sons in their families, which means when I was blessed to be one of three daughters and to have only one son, my father had to also embrace the fact that girls can be farmers too.  All family farms require work from the family, so we learned at an early age to work as a team, and as equal teammates.  There were no tasks that my brother did that I did not learn to do as well.  When I farmed with my husband, he also encouraged me to do the very same things that were once only expected from men.  I could drive tractor, milk cows, treat cows, feed calves, fix equipment, make management decisions, do the finances, and manage the employees.  I remember one preschool tour on our farm where a young boy yelled at me as I jumped onto the seat of the tractor in front of our hay ride, "Girls don't drive tractors!" Oh little guy, yes they do!
While I go on about how I have evolved into a masculine female dairy farmer, I will not.   I can do everything the guys can do, BUT I farm #LikeAGirl.  I can't change and I wouldn't change the fact that I am a girl, and with that comes a set of special traits that give me a fresh perspective in what used to be a male dominated profession. As a female I bring to the table what I call my "sixth sense".  Many mothers can relate to this, but as females we have innate ability to know when someone or something is not well.  I can notice an animal is ill long before my male counterparts.  I'm not bragging, it's a gift to notice little changes.  As a woman, I am a multitasker, so I am constantly walking through groups of cows and heifers, checking, watching and monitoring for healthy and sick animals. 
I have compassion for my animals.  Some would say that this compassion is a weakness, but I would disagree. This compassion allows me to know and understand the care needed to give my cows the very best I can.  My compassion allows me to fight for the lives of my very young newborn calves.  I firmly believe that if a calf if born alive, she will stay alive...that's my responsibility and I take it very seriously.  My compassion also allows to know when it is time to say good bye to a dear cow.  It is never easy for me to make this decision, but I always do it with the best interest of our cows in mind.
As woman, I think we tend to think more about the consumers who purchase our products, especially since as women we tend to be the primary decision makers on which foods come into our homes.  Knowing this gives me a special concern for the quality of milk that leaves my farm.  I simply put it like this: "If I am not willing to drink it myself, I will not put it in my tank for others."  What our customers want is important to me.  Just important as what they want is telling them about what we do on our farm....I want to build relationships with those who want to know a farmer.  I am so passionate about connecting and sharing the story of dairy on our farm. 
I farm #LikeAGirl, I embrace the blessings that come with being female and the gifts that I bring to my profession of producing food for others while caring for my cows and the land.

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I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!