April 5 2018 01:20 PM

Farming can fill every day, but it is important to step back and enjoy yourself now and then.

People have the perspective that dairy farmers have no life. That they work sunup to sundown, and that they eat, sleep, and breathe farming. Some believe their life consists of cows, crops, manure, sleep, and repeat.

In all reality, at certain times of the year, this is very true. But for other parts of the year, that’s not always the case. I will have to say, though, that normally our minds are farming nonstop — stressing, thinking, wondering all about work, even when we are away. It is what our lives revolve around, but we do like to have fun outside of work every now and again.

My dad is a big outdoors guy. He loves to kayak, camp, hike, and ride horses. Now that I have taken over a lot of his responsibilities on the farm, it gives him the chance to take full advantages of these hobbies. He and his wife love to travel and see different places around the world. I can remember before I left for college how hard it was for him to go places and do the things he does now.

My uncle, who is in charge of the crops, equipment, and maintenance side of the business, is a big golfer. He tends to slip off and hit 18 holes whenever he can. He also has a lake house and spends a lot of his weekends there. His son, Josh, who works along side him, spends time out and about at the lake, too.

I have my own hobbies I enjoy. Like my dad, I love to kayak . . . maybe not as much as him, though. He tends to suit up and go 10 miles, paddling at what seems like 100 mph. It feels like a workout! I've tried keeping up with him . . . but it usually ends with me finally giving up, letting the current turn my kayak around, and hollering, “I'll meet you at the truck.”

I enjoy floating with the current, tying kayaks together with friends, having a cold drink, and talking about what’s going on in everyone’s lives. I also like to travel and see new places. That is a big thing in my family — we love to travel. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, we are up for getting on a plane.

Our family works very well with one another when it comes to making sure we all keep a life off the farm. This keeps us from burning out. I honestly think it helps us keep a fresh mind and a step forward with the business. It’s easy to become so involved in something that you lose track of time and miss out on memories to be made. Sometimes you just need a good plane ride, kayak ride (going downstream), or boat ride on the lake.

Caitlin and Mark Rodgers

Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears 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.

Join us for our upcoming webinar on April 9, 2018:

The webinar “There’s a new calf killer in town” will be presented on Monday, April 9 at noon (Central time).

Veterinarians Donald Sockett, Rachel Klos, and Jason Lombard will discuss what producers should know about Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak in humans and cattle and the management practices associated with its introduction and spread in a herd.

The webinar is sponsored by Land O'Lakes Animal Milk Products Company.

Register here for all webinars.