As the holiday season comes to an end, I find myself looking back over the last few weeks and thinking, “What a whirlwind!”. Balancing work and family time with life and traveling around the holidays. One thing I have learned over the years is life on a dairy makes the holidays a little different than most people’s. There is no paid time off or paid holidays for dairy producers. Work continues as usual on the dairy, making things a little non-traditional. For starters, I have never wished for a white Christmas. While the farmer in me is always glad when we get some moisture here in New Mexico, the dairy side of me knows that it just means extra work for everyone. As a kid, all my friends would dream of snow on Christmas. All I could think was, snow means no presents until Christmas afternoon because my dad would have to work a little longer. As is, we waited to open presents until after all the morning chores were done. And you just had to hope everything went smoothly.
Cow loss. Calf loss. Milk loss. Lower production. Higher cull rate. Emotional toll…
Unfortunately, these were the topics of conversation yesterday, when we hosted New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez and her team at our dairy farm. Many local dairy farmers came out to discuss the repercussions of winter storm Goliath and how the State can help. Here we are 18 days after the blizzard getting use to our “new” normal. We all knew it was going to be hard, but it doesn’t make it any easier. We may be a little bigger than the average dairy, but this is our family farm. We have worked hard to raise our herd, only to have Mother Nature wreak havoc. Everyday I hear the same stories from heart broken producers and yesterday was no different. One producer’s story hit too close to home for most people in the meeting. He described the emotions he was feeling stepping foot on his dairy Monday morning after the storm. That morning one of his employees came up to him with tears in hers eyes and said “I am sorry for your loss”. And with that they hugged and cried. All his hard work, gone in one day. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
In the last week, we have heard a lot about the tragedies and losses from winter storm Goliath. They have been numerous and unspeakable. But today, I want to share with you some of the inspiring stories about how the community of dairy women came together to support their farm families throughout the blizzard. There have been many articles about the cows losses and the hard work of the dairymen, and they are true heroes. But many times the work of the dairy women or dairy wife goes unnoticed, and they do their work without a thank you. This is my THANK YOU to all of you.
WOW! I cannot believe the overwhelming response I have received from one simple post. I never would have guessed my post would reach over 15,000 people (and counting), receive hundreds of likes, comments and shares. Many of you have been encouraging me to share my experiences of life on my family dairy farm and this post finally gave me the courage to do that.