Step-daughter, Harleigh (16) Step-son, Parker (15)
Tell us about your farm:
We have 200 dairy cattle; they are primarily Jerseys, but we have a few Holstein/Jersey crosses and have been crossing with Normande. The cows are on pasture most of the year. During the winter they are in a loose housing building. We milk 100 cows on average. The bull calves are usually sold after birth. We own 41 acres and our buildings, and installed a parlor in January 2011. We crop 170 acres.
What’s the busiest time of day for you?
Mornings. I like to get as much done as possible. Then if problems arise, I can usually still get started with evening milking on time.
How much time do you spend doing farm work compared with house work?
I easily spend 90 percent of my time with the cattle. Unfortunately, house work is what I let slide.
What do you do in your free time and why?
I love to read! In the spring and summer I enjoy working on the yard and in the garden and flower beds. I love being outside; it is relaxing
What’s the best thing about farming?
There are a lot of things I love about farming. The animals have to be the best. I especially enjoy watching my baby calves grow into the milking herd. The every day miracles; seeing an animal do awesome after being nursed back to health or being surprised when the pet cow that you could not bear to sell surprises you with a heifer calf. Mykenzie Fayth (in the photo with me) is proof of miracles. Emilie was my pet cow. She was 18 years old and had her first heifer calf a few days before she passed away. The calf is my new pet and is totally spoiled.
When you look back on your life, what do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for doing the best I could, for trying to help others, and for my love of animals and nature.
Do you have any ideas that could make farming easier for you and all farming women?
I think times are changing and women are more accepted in positive roles in agriculture, but there are still a few salespeople that come to the farm and won’t give me the time of day. Jeff is often not around, as he works full time for Fastline Publications in advertising and is on the road a lot. However, I think the female agriculture population needs to assert themselves in a positive way and be positive role models for our youth. Times are changing and women are going to find themselves in many different roles that are not traditional. I think we are ready to meet this challenge.
Original article appeared in Dairy Star newspaper. It was reprinted with permission in the June/July 2012 issue of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route.