By Kimberly Thole
There are many times in my life that I have stopped to wonder how different my life would be if I had not been born and raised on a dairy farm. Then again, every day on the farm shaped me into who I am today, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.
I started helping with chores and milking when I was about 8 years old. Immediately after getting off the school bus, I would run into the house, change my clothes, grab a snack, and head outside. It was milking time.
I would have to feed the calves their bottles, grain, and hay, replace their water, give them fresh straw, and then feed my dog and cats. This was all done before I would scrape manure off the lot on which the milk cows would spend the day eating and drinking. I would also clean out their individual sleeping stalls in which they could get to at any time during the day and night to relax. After doing all of this, I would head out to the pasture and make sure every cow had moved to the holding pen where they wait to be milked.
When the weather was too hot or too cold, I hated milking. On the days when the weather was a comfortable 65 degrees Fahrenheit, I loved it. That’s how I feel today as well. Sometimes I would milk with my dad, other days with my mom, and on occasion both. On days when my dad needed to be in the field, and my mom needed to be at work, I would get to milk with my sisters which was always the most fun. I think milking the cows with family caused me to grow even closer to them.
As I’ve matured, my passion for agriculture has developed. Every time I go home from college, I help with whatever I can on our farm. I want my parents to know that they can depend on me to do anything they need with the cattle, in the field, and everything in between.
If I hadn’t been raised the way I was or in the place I was, I don’t know that I would be pursuing the Agribusiness major that I have chosen in college. My dreams would probably be totally different. I wouldn’t appreciate everything farmers do for us, I wouldn’t know much about agriculture, and I wouldn’t have the passion for animals and farming that I do today. Luckily though, my father chose to follow his father’s footsteps and farm. I hope that I can one day continue what they’ve built and keep them proud.