Dec. 16 2016 08:00 AM

Facing the ups and downs of farming during the winter.

We all have those days where nothing seems to go right on the farm, especially during the harsh winter months. Hoses are frozen, fences need fixing, calves get sick, and, to top it off, that pesky water heater just won’t stay lit! Each farmer has a different set of challenges to face during the season, and they all seem to pile up like the mountains of snow outside our windows.

Days like these just make you want to head indoors, find a spot next to the heater, and forget your troubles. Unfortunately, most dairy farmers do not have this luxury and must face the struggles that farming presents.

Personally, I find it a struggle just to put on all of the extra clothes winter requires and waddle my way up the stairs! Once I manage to make it out the door, the “to-do list” comes out. Like all farmers, I find that as soon as I check one item off my list, two new items takes its place. It is not unusual to hear mumbles of frustration slip out as farmers move on to the next time-consuming task.

Even everyday jobs become a struggle as temperatures begin to plummet. Chores that only seemed to take minutes in the warm months can now take hours. While we all eventually get some version of the winter blues, there are some positive aspects of the season that can easily be forgotten.

On the days where I find myself in a particularly bad “winter mood,” I think about the things I don’t necessarily miss about summer. While battling the task of dressing for the cold, I am reminded of those hot, humid days where I wished for cooler temperatures. After trudging through the sticky mud in the spring and fall, the frozen ground no longer seems like such a challenge. The sting of snow flurries hitting my face is strangely more desirable than the swarms of mosquitoes that invade during the warmer months. Though the entire winter season can feel like a constant struggle, other seasons come with their own set of challenges as well.

The never-ending cycle of the ups and downs of dairy farming keeps producers on their toes. Even with all of the struggles that farming presents, however, we should always manage to find a few hidden positives amongst all the negatives.

Taylor Leach

Taylor Leach grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Linwood, Kansas. Leach graduated with an associate’s degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College and now attends Oklahoma State University, majoring in animal science and agriculture communications. On campus, she is a member of the dairy club and also works on the university's dairy farm. Leach was the 2016 Hoard’s Dairyman summer editorial intern.