Feb. 14 2024 09:21 AM

This Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of what we love about dairy farming.

The way to a farm girl’s heart isn’t a dozen red roses. It’d be better to put that money toward a load of feed, even though the costs these days wouldn’t even come close to covering it. Farm life has a way of putting a different spin on love. Who doesn’t love working cows with their significant other? And it’s definitely true in the things that we love about farm life.

As adults, those things become more obvious. We chose this life, and often our love for dairy farming is at the root of that choice. Either that or we are just crazy, which is a definite possibility as well. Newborn calves, producing a quality and nutritious product, being outside working with animals, and not working at a desk with people all come easily to mind as loves at the root of our choice to dairy farm.

Also, usually within that choice is raising the next generation. I definitely love the life we can give our boys while growing up on the farm. While their choice to stay and farm or not will still be some years off, I had to ask my boys what they love about dairy farm life.

My youngest at just 3 was the easiest. “All the animals. The cows, the chickens, the heifers, the pigs (we don’t have pigs), and the baby calves,” he said. The calves are always a point of love as my oldest added, “Having a newborn calf drink all her first bottle. That makes me feel so good.”

It was no surprise that the answer from my older middle son, who predictably loves the machinery, was, “Driving the skid steer is what I love the most.” And my younger middle son showed his love for his brothers by sharing his favorite thing about the farm is “Working with his brothers and family.” Four boys gave genuine and honest answers on what they love.

I know we need reminded sometimes why we do this, why we work so hard for something that sometimes feels very unrewarding or not appreciated. This week of love, renew your vows of love to the farm life. Ask your kids what they love most about farm life; I promise it will help to rekindle your “why.” Happy Valentine’s Day!

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micromanagers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.