March 20 2018 02:15 PM

Dairying is hard work. Don’t forget why we do it.

I had to take a deep breath these last couple of weeks. The state of our industry is no joke. Stressful doesn’t even seem to come close to being the right word to describe it all. It only seemed appropriate that at least one thing could go right, and I could get the breath of fresh air I needed. We finally got that break when we were able to let the cows out to pasture a couple of weeks early!

This has long been my favorite day of the year. But this year it was needed so very much more for the reminders of why. Why do we keeping going when things feel so very hopeless and the future of our industry so very unsure?

My why was under that blue sky and in that green grass. As I watched the ladies head out to enjoy it, I honestly couldn’t imagine anything else.

My why was in the young cows that show a promise for tomorrow. When I look at them, I can believe that my breeding philosophy is truly working for the herd. My why was in the older ladies that have proven their worth and make me thankful for the opportunity to work with them.

My why was my young boys beside me. I can honestly say at times I don’t wish this future upon them. The uncertainty that the roller coaster ride of dairying brings is a stress I don’t wish to pass on. But looking at the fifth generation I still hold out hope that if they so choose, this could be a life that could support them and their families to come.

What is your why? Some days it hardly feels enough to hold onto those. But taking a deep breath and remembering puts everything into perspective, at least for a little while.

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 transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.