Oct. 20 2016 08:00 AM

Even if it’s hard to do, parents need to give their children a chance to learn by managing the farm.

For the past week, I have been preparing to take a vacation. That means doing all of my regular tasks on the farm, plus making lists for my daughter and my herdsman of things I would like accomplished while I am away. I stressed to them to follow all protocols, write down any issues that I will need to address after returning, and to not call me unless it is an emergency. My daughter Caitlyn replied, “I got this, Dad.”
I am writing this blog at 37,000 feet above sea level, headed to see six national parks in Arizona and Utah. While on vacation, I plan on doing some hiking, sightseeing, and will not be calling home to check on the farm. I will text some great photos to my daughter of sights we see, and hopefully all she has to reply to me is, “Looks like fun, and everything is going great here!”

I have noticed that she is learning to utilize our consulting team more when I am away. She is quicker to call the nutritionist or veterinarian for advice. (I always inform them that I will be out of town and ask them to call and check in more often while I am gone.) She realizes that with me not there, she may have to call DRMS (Dairy Records Management Systems) or DelPro support and work out any software issues. She also has to be more flexible with her day’s schedule when she is managing the entire staff.

It is sometimes tough to let the next generation make the decisions, but it is the only way to give them the confidence they need to succeed in this business. I also realize there are some great places in this country that my wife and I would like to visit. By letting Caitlyn manage, it gives me the opportunity to leave the farm and go see them.

Caitlin and Mark Rodgers

Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Daddy and Daughter Dairy Together” column will appear every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.