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The Old Barn Door


Whether you own a dairy or work on or with dairies, has anyone ever asked you why you chose your dairy profession?

That question has come up for me lately, as I've had the opportunity to be on the other side of a podcast, as a guest instead of a host, fielding the question, "What made you want to start the Uplevel Dairy Podcast?"

When I really think about it, it all comes back to this: The old barn door.

You see, when I was a kid, most of my time was spent alongside my parents, milking cows and doing chores in the little red barn my great grandfather had built. I often admired the texture of the whitewashed limestone walls and massive hand-hewed beams.

But my favorite spot in the barn was the side door that faced the east. It was a split wooden door, with a top half and bottom half so you could overlook the cow yard.

But that was only a fragment of the view.

From that barn door, I could look across the entire valley.

The little creek that ran through the cow pasture. The sloping farm fields of of strip-cropped southern Wisconsin hills.

And if I timed it just right, on a late summer evening, the setting sun would cast the most beautiful golden glow across the valley, illuminating the backs of the black and white beauties grazing the tall grass and painting watercolors across the sky.

That old barn door didn't just provide a view. It served as a wooden picture frame for a canvas of God's glorious creation.

And it was those moments where I'd stop to think about what life would some day be if I ventured outside of that frame and left the farm.

I didn't know the direction back then, but I knew the destination.

I knew that whatever path I chose when I left that gravel driveway, my purpose was this: To help families keep farming.

Because everyone deserves their own "old barn door view."

So what's yours? Odds are, it's not a little red barn anymore.

Perhaps it's the view as you look down the length of the freestall barn, as the sun rises and the sky layers like a rainbow.

Or maybe it's the view from the seat of the tractor as your working land.

Or your pickup, as you pull into the farm driveway while it's still and dark on an early winter morning, feeling the crispness of the air and marveling at the stars twinkling in the sky.

There's a closeness in these moments that connects us all in the dairy business.

It's where our purpose and our placement come together.

It's when we realize that what we do is bigger than ourselves, and that there is a hand on us and over us.

So what's your "old barn door"?

What's the view that shaped who you are, what you do and why you do it?

The views may vary, but we each have our own.

Guest Columnist: Peggy Coffeen, Uplevel Dairy Podcast


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