Jan. 20 2021 08:00 AM

A funny encounter reminded me that we all have more in common than we think.

I had a great opportunity the other day to chat with an expecting dad who knew nothing about dairy. Soon after, I realized I may be a bad influence.

Through my “Dairy Dad” social media pages, I have met a lot of really awesome people. One was this man, who lived halfway across the U.S. and was interested in starting his own page about the struggles and victories he has had coming back from war and maintaining a home life with kids and work. To top it off, he endured a traumatic injury that caused him to lose part of a leg.

As we talked, we bonded over similarities such as the balance between home and the workplace. This topic led us to the same point: We spend so much of our time, energy, and patience for all the things around us that we forget to leave some of that kindness, understanding, and love for those at home who deserve it the most.

As dairy producers, we like to boast about how many hours we work and the strain on our body and mind, but we forget to leave some energy in the tank for those who we love the most. We throw everything we have at our jobs but forget to have the same intensity at home for our family. Hearing the same sentiments from a man who does not work in our industry at all was sobering. We are not alone.

This is where things got interesting. He started to ask about dairy farming and all the things we do, and he was especially curious about how we move cows that have gone down. He had heard things, but he wanted to fact check by asking a farmer! So, we talked about the different ways we do it, and hip clamps came up as an option because he had heard that method explained in a very grotesque manner. As we talked, I did not realize that him and his wife were expecting a baby girl any moment, and I unknowingly gave him all the comedic cow material he needed!

A day after our talk, he contacted me with a picture of him and his baby girl with this caption, which I’m paraphrasing: “I used all the references about moving down cows and O.B. stuff that we talked about and had the whole delivery room laughing the entire time!”

Ladies and gentlemen, this man went into a delivery room as a city boy and came out an honorary dairyman! Honestly, I tried some of those same jokes and was almost admitted to the hospital myself. Apparently, our doctor didn’t see the humor!

The moral of the story? We have a lot more in common with people outside of the dairy industry than most of us realize. There are so many ways to connect with people on complementary and shared experiences and views. And don’t forget, when sharing dairy comparisons about labor and delivery, be sure to warn them about the potential danger of ill-placed cow jokes in the delivery room!

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.