Holidays and farm visits
I went to visit a college roommate in South Florida who I try to catch up with from time to time. There, I had the chance to visit a dairy farm near her home.
Growing up, in college, and even right after college, when I was going on vacation or out of town away from the farm, the last place I wanted to visit was another dairy farm. It’s not because I didn’t love my life or my job, but at that point I wasn’t as invested or focused on my career choices.
As I got older and matured, I became much more focused on the family farm and became much more interested in the business. I read more dairy related magazines and try to consume as much information about different farming methods. I have read information about cattle health and product specifications and prices. I always ask about different ways of doing things to make the farm run more efficiently.
Long story short, while I was in Florida I was asked if I would like to visit a dairy farm up the road that was pretty well known for their community outreach and selling ice cream. Unlike me 10 years ago, this time I said absolutely, and I really appreciated it.
I was able to see how the operation worked and tour the beautiful farm. I sent pictures home to my dad and my uncle, and they both laughed and said that I finally became a real dairy farmer because I went on vacation and when even found on a dairy farm. I thought about it, and most of the time when one of them goes out of town, they always end up visiting another dairy farm.
The end of the story is that dairy farming is certainly not just a career choice, but it is also a way of life. Even when you step away from your own dairy farm to get away, you end up stepping on another before returning home.
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that produces an average of 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc..