When Tom Alger’s sons, Tommy and Derek, were in high school, he advised them to make their own paths and not follow his into dairy farming.
It’s not because he dislikes his own job – nothing could be further from the truth – he just envisioned their futures with 9-to-5 jobs, Monday through Friday, where they’d be free to spend the holidays as they liked. They’d have 401(k)s and health care and never have to miss a school play to assist a cow giving birth. They could go on vacation without constantly worrying about what’s going on back at the farm.
But dad’s recommendation fell on deaf ears. The second-generation dairyman’s sons already had it in their blood, and there was no other life for them to lead. And that makes the elder Alger awfully proud.
“It’s a good business and it’s a great family business,” he says. “It may not always be the easiest and it’s definitely 24/7, but you get to work with your family and that’s worth a lot.”
And it’s not just Tom and sons at A-Tex, where they milk just shy of 4,000 cows each day – it’s also Tom’s nephews, Ray and Jeff.
“I’m very proud of what we do as a family,” Tom says. “We provide a good product – a clean product – and we take great care of our cows. The old ‘happy cow’ thing is not just a cliché. We live that here.”