Feb. 6 2019 09:15 AM

For generations, members of my family have paved a path so that I can have the career that I love.

Nearly 100 years ago, my great-grandfather traveled by himself on a cattle boat from the Azores Islands of Portugal in search of a better life. Barely an adult, he fought to leave his mark in the world and a legacy for the children he was yet to have. As a young boy, he left his family and friends behind to fulfill a purpose, and that is exactly what he did.

A little while after settling in California, he found a job where he milked cows by hand alongside others at a local dairy farm. As was his nature, he worked hard. Because of his size, he was able to milk two teats with one hand, making him twice as fast as his coworkers.

Realizing he was doing twice the work as the others, he asked the employer if it would be possible to receive a raise in pay. His employer’s response resulted in my great-grandfather’s termination. As a result of the termination, he set a goal to never work for anyone else and to never treat his employees like he was treated.

Soon after that incident, he bought some cows, and a while after that he started his first dairy. He not only started a family, but the farm allowed for him to send for his brothers who were still in the Azores. As everyone started to grow their families, it was apparent that the single dairy would not support them all. He set off to start another, leaving the first dairy to a brother. As his second dairy grew, so did his family.

Long after his passing, it became apparent to my grandfather, Joe, and my father that history was to repeat itself once more. Just like before, they risked it all, leaving the other dairy behind to start their own.

Now I have the opportunity to be a part of our family farm, and I love every minute of it. But I know I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for those that were willing to take a risk to leave a legacy.

In today’s uncertain times, leaving a dairy legacy has become increasingly difficult, if not downright impossible, to accomplish, but I’m not giving up. I choose to fight.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.

Join us for our next webinar on February 11, 2019:

Geoff Dahl

Geoff Dahl, University of Florida, presents “Heat stress affects dry cows and calves” on Monday, February 11, at noon (Central time). Sponsored by TechMix.

Heat stress during late gestation has significant negative effects on the productivity of the cow in the next lactation. Emerging evidence suggests that the developing fetus is also negatively impacted, with lower milk yields in the first lactation and beyond. Sign up here.