To the dairy farmer’s daughter,
Most days you feel alone as if you are the only one that has ever felt this sort of loyalty, devotion, and pride. Instilled by your dairy roots, you are bound to the farm and will always prioritize it above everything else.
Growing up, life wasn’t full of decisions. Friends at school got to choose a variety of different involvements, like gymnastics, dance, or swimming, but you had to be selective of your commitments. You tried being that girl that did it all, but then came that fear of missing out on the farm or work left unfinished.
Often overlooked, you are the glue of the operation. You are the glimpse of hope after struggling for over an hour to catch a breeding age heifer. You are the reminder that all hard work needs a little play and the reason why every tomorrow holds a better day.
As a dairy farmer’s daughter, you are what makes the generational dairy farm a family business. You made it known that women can haul manure, vaccinate calves, and record expenses. You changed minds when salesmen, haulers, and nutritionists said, “Farming is a man’s job.”
You care more than you should. Nothing goes to the wayside. Every little imperfection and judgement run through your mind nonstop. Because of this, you strive to make everything flawless. With your help, cattle are better cared for, and facilities are better kept.
People don’t notice all that you do for the dairy or how most of your thoughts revolve around the farm. You were born into this lifestyle with no choice, but you decided to embrace it. You make the most out of the good moments and persevere through the hard times.
Dairy farmer’s daughter, I have been in your boots, and so has every girl that grew up on a farm. Thank you for committing yourself to the dairy, missing opportunities, and often, caring too much for your own good.
Jessica Schmitt grew up working on her family’s dairy farm near Fort Atkinson, Iowa. She recently completed her junior year at Iowa State University where she is triple majoring in dairy science, international agriculture, and agricultural and life sciences education with a communications option. Schmitt served as the 2021 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern this summer.