Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've posted a blog but I've really enjoyed reading everyone elses. It's awesome to know the dairy industry is full of supportive people! I've been really busy with the farm and school but I have wanted to share an experience from my spring semester.


You may be wondering why I'm going to back to school at the age of (soon to be 26) and dairy farming at the same time. My reasons start with the ever changing milk prices. Don't get me wrong, they're good right now but I don't think I need to remind you of 2009. We all know they don't stay. I wanted a "back up" per say if/when milk prices drop so low again. And my interest and enthusiasm for the Spanish language is undeniable thanks to working with Hispanics through the years. Also I'm scared to think what might happen if anything would ever happen to my husband. We all know farming doesn't exactly rank as the safest profession and we've had our scares. I want to be able to take care of myself and to be in a profession that I like. I love farming but I'm no match for the "cow whisperer" my husband is.


With that said, my major is secondary education Spanish. Now I don't know if I'm going to like teaching but the skill set that comes with it will enable me to do a number of different things. It was in one of my education classes that a relevation was revealed. My professor always started each class by asking what was new and exciting in our lives? When no one offered any news one day, I raised my hand and proudly told her I had had 3 heifer calves born that morning. Of course this caught everyone off guard. Understand...most of my classmates are from Philly and urban parts of New Jersey. I was flooded with questions of what dairy farming entails and in the end I had a request to bring in pictures. I gladly said I would relishing the fact that I had an opportunity to educate about dairy.


The next day I brought in pictures of the newborns and also of our "family photos" of me, my husband my beloved purebred jersey, Piper and her 1 month old heifer. (These pics are posted on Proud to Dairy) It was when I displayed the family photo on the overhead projector for the entire class to see that an eager classmate raised his hand and in all seriousness asked, "So when do they turn black and white?" Truth be told, I had to stifle a laugh. The guy was serious! Gathering myself, I shared the knowledge of the different breeds of cows which led into even more questions! My professor had to cut me short because I was cutting into her instruction time. That was only one of the many opportunties I've had and have gladly taken them to educate. I am now known at school as the "dairy girl".


I know you keep hearing, "Tell your story!" But it really is shocking to learn just how distant consumers are with all parts of agriculture. Opportunties arise all the time to educate about our wonderful industry. I encourage you to take these opportunties, whether they appear in the grocery store, non-farm meetings you attend or on a vacation, and educate because if you don't, someone else will and that someone else just may be PETA! (and that's scary considering the latest article in Progressive Dairyman)

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Comment by Elinor Opitz on September 21, 2011 at 2:39pm
I love when every day situations turn into a chance to talk about the cows! That is great that you were able to share with urban classmates, I miss being able to do that in my philosophy classes in Minneapolis. Good luck with going back to school!


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