Alone We Fall, United We Stand
February 27, 2020
My head might explode if I hear one more farmer complain about how their business can’t survive because their neighbor, who happens to milk a few more cows, is stealing their market. We will never convince consumers dairies of all sizes are valuable if we can’t rally together.
Dear readers, I recently found proof there is hope for our industry. There’s evidence dairies of all sizes can coexist — and benefit from each other. Imagine four dairy farm families going on vacation together. They would rent an AirBn Bon a lake and spend four fun-filled days together. They bond over parenting and cows, have a few cocktails, great food and laugh until they cry. They form a friend group that’s unshakable.
What would you think if I told you these four families live in four different states and milk different sized herds ranging from 50 to 10,000 cows. Would you believe they’re friends?
Here are the highlights of what they told me about their friendship:
“My favorite thing about this girl tribe of farmers is not even so much about the day to day operational stuff. It’s that we’re all doing very different things, on very different levels, in very different places,” says Angela Tauer of Minnesota.
“We’re blunt, we’re honest, we’re real ... but at the end of the day we all respect each other to the ends of the earth. Some days farming is about so much more than just farming, and I love having that outlet. Perspective and all I guess.”
“At the same time, we are able to recognize the unique role farming plays in our daily lives. It’s just so amazing to have a friend who ‘gets’ you and why the 5:20 school pick up is so difficult,” says Heather Moore from Iowa. “This tribe shows me farming doesn’t have to be all consuming to be successful.”
“We have the best girl gang! These chicks have saved my sanity more than once,” says Ellie Cnossen of Texas. “I learn so much from them!”
“I do not know where I’d be without these amazing ladies. We all have so much in common and our diverse business models create a vast amount of knowledge and resources,” says Ashley Edstrom from Colorado. “It’s amazing. I can contact Heather with a medication dosage question or Ellie with a breeding question, and they’re always there for me and supportive.”
We can create this kind of community for ourselves too. Successful dairy farms in the U.S. are large and small. We can milk cows on rotaries, in tiestall barns and even with robots. There is more than one right way. We can link arms and still listen to each others’ point of view even when we disagree. United we become stronger individuals and a stronger industry.