March 22 2016 07:09 AM

What other ways can you find to serve the dairy industry?

Darleen Sichley

Last week, March 13 to 19, was National Agriculture Week. I had the chance to represent the Oregon dairy industry in a video commercial for a local TV station. The commercial was played on their morning show during ag week.

I don't think this opportunity was one I would have willingly volunteered for in the past, but I took a moment to look at the bigger picture - doing a service for the industry that matters the most to me. That gave me the drive to step up to the plate.

I'm not a fan of public speaking, luckily the commercial was short and scripted, and I got a couple days to rehearse. The filming went great and was a very fun experience, I walked away very glad I had agreed.

It took a little nudge but taking the step out of my comfort zone and into that opportunity was a great growing point for myself personally. But it also served to allow my dairy story to represent dairy and agriculture as a whole. We all have such unique voices to add to the collective picture of this industry, and when we find those ways to share, it benefits everyone.

I know we all lead very busy lives. The demands of a 365-day-a-year job can often feel overwhelming. There are many days where there just isn't any extra time to step off the farm and into those roles. Rearranging schedules and making it a priority to fulfill opportunities like the one I had with the TV station often yields rewards that return home with us.

So next time that spot on the board opens up, that event needs an extra volunteer or the local school wants to meet a farmer, think of the ways you might grow by stepping out of your comfort zone and up to the plate. Our individual stories and voices are so needed in this industry today. You might just find that serving the dairy industry brings you back to the farm with a renewed energy for the things we are all the most passionate about.

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 two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, 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 is in the process of transitioning to a robotic milking system.