Aug. 9 2018 01:30 PM

It is so rewarding to see employees — who are like family to us — learn and grow on the farm.

Our staff is like our family. They might not be related to us by blood, but we respect and care about them like we would our own. Most of our staff members are actually related to one another, so it is like two families working together as one.

We hate to see a good employee go, but we have one who we are excited to send away. This weekend C.J. Martin will be moving away from home to attend college. He has been working for us since he turned 15, and he was even helping out around the farm for a couple of years before that. I can remember when he would be here, following his mom around whether she was feeding calves or milking cows. And when he wasn’t with her, he would be shadowing one of us, helping and learning as much as possible.

C.J. has done an excellent job for us. He has definitely learned a lot while working here, from how to do something around the farm to good ol’ tough life lessons. Through it all, we watched him become a man. A man with a good work ethic, good faith, and motivation to work toward his life goals.

Before graduating high school, C.J. became president of his school’s FFA chapter. He went on to compete for the dairy proficiency award at the state level. He won first place in the state and is now competing for the award on a national level. Just recently, we found out that he is one of the top four finalists for this award.

C.J. will be leaving us and heading to Tifton, Ga., where he will be attending Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC). This was where my father went to school and then where I went — so needless to say we are extremely happy with his choice for college. His goal is to get a degree in agricultural education and one day become an agriculture teacher.

C.J. has been around us for so long, it’s going to be hard seeing him off. He is like a little brother to me. But I’m proud to say that he worked for us, and I am proud of the person who he has become. Getting to watch someone start off here so young and watch them grow up on the farm is a blessing. We have watched him, his cousins, and will probably watch his younger brother and sisters do the same.

My last blog focused on “Who in their right mind would pick a career like this?” Well, getting to see the little ones grow up around the farm — that is what it is all about.

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 on August 13, 2018, for our webinar "What's different about Jerseys . . . and what's not" presented by Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois

Mike Hutjens

Sponsored by Custom Dairy Performance / KTG North America

Hutjens will discuss guidelines and opportunities for Jersey herds based on the results of a thorough study of the top cheese yielding Jersey herds in the country. The impact of herd size, milk yield, use of BST, and mixed breed versus Jersey-only farms will be evaluated.

Register here for all webinars.