Emily Caldwell for Progressive Dairyman
The last time Josie and Jocelyn Riser traveled to World Dairy Expo, Jocelyn was only four years old. The mother-daughter duo had the opportunity to return to Madison, Wisconsin, for the event when they decided to take Jocelyn’s Senior 3-Year-Old to compete.
“This was our first year to take cows out of the state,” Josie Riser says.
Josie says Jocelyn, now 13, was excited when her cow, Riser-4 Talent Dahlia, placed third in the Junior Holstein Show and received Best Bred and Owned in her class. Josie, Jocelyn and Dahlia also traveled to the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, where Dahlia received first in the Junior Holstein Show and second in the open show.
For the Risers, showing quality dairy cattle is a hobby the whole family enjoys. Josie and her husband, Mike, are supportive of Jocelyn and their other daughter Hannah, 12, and they appreciate being able to work together.
Josie says she is thankful that her family can be involved in the “show scene,” even though they help run a large dairy operation.
“We’re certainly not the only ones, but there aren’t a lot of large dairies who show cattle and flush cows,” Josie says.
JoBo Holstein Farm LLC is a 1,000-cow dairy owned and operated by Josie; Josie’s parents, John and Bonnie Hess; Josie’s brother, John Hess, Jr.; and Josie’s sister and brother-in-law, Joy and Dale Brown. In addition to the milking herd, the family owns about 800 heifers, most of which are custom-raised. Josie says about 40 percent of the herd are registered Holsteins.
Josie’s parents moved their 50-cow herd from Lancaster to Gettysburg in 1970. They have expanded over the years in order for the farm to support the entire family. Each member has a specific role in the operation. The farm also employs 12 full-time workers.
Josie believes one of the best things about their operation today is that she and her husband are able to spend a lot of “family time” together. In addition to showing cattle, they enjoy watching Hannah in her hobby of go-kart racing.
Josie’s daughters are also able to be involved in the operation. Josie says she likes the fact that she can bring her children to work with her, unlike many other full-time positions. Josie’s nieces and nephews also help on the farm.
In addition to encouraging the younger generation to take an interest, Josie and her family open up the farm to their community.
“We do a lot of elementary school tours,” Josie says. “It really gives the public a good perception of us.”
Each year during these tours, JoBo Holstein Farm hosts as many as 1,500 students. Josie’s family enjoys the opportunity to teach consumers about agriculture and to quash myths about large dairies.
The family also organizes a fall picnic every year for about 200 of their neighbors and farm contact people, including milk truck drivers, veterinarians and fellow dairy producers.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us to get together and to thank everyone who has helped us run our operation,” Josie says.
This group of reliable people helped to enable Josie and Jocelyn to travel to shows this fall.
“We have a large enough operation and quality workers so that we’re able to get away when we would like to,” Josie says.
While the Risers were at World Dairy Expo and not prepping animals for the show, they decided to check out some of the booths and displays by various dairy companies. When they came across the Progressive Dairy Publishing’s booth, they wanted to check out the “Proud to Dairy” items.
“Jocelyn said she wanted to be in the commercial so that she could get her dad a ‘Proud to Dairy’ hat,” Josie says. “And I figured I would enter to try to win the clock.”
The Proud to Dairy logo and campaign is the collaborative effort of the entire Progressive Dairy Publishing team. Their vision is for the “Proud to Dairy” emblem to recognize progressive dairy producers who embody dairying’s core values, including perseverance and sincerity like the Risers’.
“I’m proud to produce a wholesome product for consumers,” Josie says. “I think dairying is a great lifestyle and is very important for the economy.”
To see, hear and read about more people who are Proud to Dairy, go to www.proudtodairy.com PTD