The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City where it was celebrated by a single labor union. It was then adopted as a national holiday in 1887 to be a yearly tribute to all the hard work of Americans who contribute to the success of our country. Even though dairy farmers are definitely part of the tribute on Labor Day, we don’t get the same day off.
For many, Labor Day means a day off work, a BBQ or maybe one last camping trip before fall. But on a dairy, Labor Day is another typical day.
A dairy never takes a break. Kristie Docheff, owner of Blue Sky Dairy, says it well, “24/7/365 is a common phrase. However, at Blue Sky Dairy, as with all family owned dairies, we live it every day. Not because we have to; but because we want to. Agriculture is our passion, not merely our job. Whether it be animal health, nutrition, comfort or general management...we pride ourselves on unselfishly caring for our livestock 24/7/365.”
Cows must be milked every day. Plus, all the animals must be fed, pens must be cleaned and any sick animals must be treated every day of the year, no matter the holiday.
Growing up on dairy, I just knew it was a rush to get chores done before going to the 4th of July parade, or presents on Christmas morning always had to wait until cows and calves were fed. But I wouldn’t have changed a minute. Growing up on a dairy also meant I got to learn the meaning of hard work, got to travel all around our country participating in dairy judging contests, and now I get to work alongside my parents every day.
So, even though others may be sleeping in on Labor Day or relaxing by a pool, I will be more than happy helping my mom feed our calves, knowing I’m contributing to an amazing industry in our great country.