When people think of dairy farmers, they might picture overalls and a pitchfork. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dairy farmers are some of the most innovative and progressive people in all of agriculture, finding ways to do more with less in order to feed our growing population.
They are also just like you and me! They have families, contribute to their communities and at the end of the day want to contribute the most wholesome and safe product for everyone to enjoy. Over 50% of dairy farms are operated by women, and 95% are family-owned and -operated. Many dairy farmers are part of the next generation stepping in to continue their family’s legacy. Meet a few local dairy farmers below who are taking on responsibilities on their family farms.
Kyle Humphrey – Humphrey & Humphrey Dairy
For me, I knew from the start that dairy farming was all I ever wanted to do. I spent all my time with my dad as a kid tagging along with him at work. The older I got the more I realized what my family had built over the years, and how everything they did they were doing it for my siblings, cousins and I. There’s nothing I have wanted to do more than appreciate what they did for us than to continue adding to everything they built and sacrificed for the next generations to come.
I dairy farm because I have a passion in knowing that I am making an impact by using our resources to the best of my ability toward the care, comfort and nutrition of my animals: whether it’s improving soil health, growing feed for my animals more efficiently, or combatting food waste by feeding our cows byproducts that aren’t edible by humans and would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Syke Talsma – Talsma Dairy
Growing up I was always involved at the dairy helping with feeding, chores and occasionally raking hay. After high school I went to the local community college and then transferred to Tarleton State University where I studied agribusiness management. I worked a few different jobs after graduating but none of them really felt like they were what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, so I moved back home to our dairy farm in the fall of 2015, and it was the best decision I could have ever made. I now work on our dairy as the full-time manager of our calf herd.
My inspiration is 110% my parents for having the courage to move across the world to follow their dreams of becoming dairy farmers and having their own dairy to raise a family on. They are the hardest working people I know.
Being a dairy farmer is work and vacation all packaged into one beautiful gift. I wake up every day not knowing what new tasks are at hand but get to work alongside my family and spend the entire day, sunup to sundown, in our own piece of paradise.
Kameron Peschel – Peschel’s Dairy, Inc.
I came back to work on my family’s dairy after graduating from Colorado State University because I love working with the cows, being outside, having routine and making impactful decisions. When I worked for other people right out of college, I missed learning what was going on behind the scenes. It was always my dream to come back and work on the farm because it’s where I can provide the most value to people by bringing them nutritious dairy foods.
My role on our farm is doing a little bit of everything. I joke that it’s my job to work on everyone else’s day off! I ensure our cows get the best care possible and continue steering our herd in the right direction through research and management practices. When I’m not on the farm, I’m involved in groups with other young farmers to stay up to date and keep our farm sustainable.
Emily and Garrett Lochner – Bentwood Dairy
After meeting in college at Texas Tech University, Garrett and I got married and made the decision to move back to my family’s dairy farm to work alongside my parents growing and expanding the business. We had been away from the dairy for nine years but could see the opportunity for the business to grow exponentially.
Garrett works every day on the dairy farm. In the mornings, he gets up and makes sure our calves get the individual attention they need and checks on the adult cows. After that, he may be cleaning pens, chopping silage, planting corn, building a fence and or whatever the day requires. I work from home in events and marketing, so I help with responsibilities on the farm as well – picking up lunch during harvest season, helping care for the animals and more. Plus, I enjoy riding through the pastures checking on cows every evening.
For us, we’re inspired by the world of agriculture and the opportunity to take a piece of land and turn it into something valuable and memorable. And we relish in the pride that comes with feeding our growing population and seeing a hard day’s work accomplished.
Gerret Boer – Boer Dairy
I graduated from Oklahoma State University this year with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and agribusiness. What made me decide to come back home to work on my family’s farm as a fifth-generation farmer was my love for the cows and the dairy community. Most of my memorable moments have come from growing up on the farm and around the cattle.
What inspires me is seeing the contributions I have made to my family’s farm. Most dairy farms are owned by families like mine, and a lot of hard work goes into making the dairy foods you love.
We hope you’re as excited about the future of dairy farming as we are – we know the next generation is up for the challenge of feeding a growing population and continuing their family farm legacies.