Breaking up is hard…but it’s not impossible.
I’ll admit, I was never going to write this article because I haven’t experienced it. I thought maybe it would come across as less authentic. But then, I got a message from a friend basically asking me to write it. And she’s right. It needs to be discussed.
The gist of her message was that her family, after a lot of time and discussion, is selling their cows. Yes, it’s sad; but it wasn’t a hard decision. Four generations are helping on the farm, with the full-time farmers being the older generation and continually having a more difficult time physically doing the job. It was the right decision to make for the health and happiness of their family. And that’s okay, isn’t it? Is that okay? Why isn’t that okay?
I get it. Seeing farms having to sell because of things like increasing regulations, low profits and high costs, loss of market, or other ridiculous reasons we should be able to avoid makes me just as angry as the next person. But guys, sometimes it’s just time to say goodbye. And that IS okay.
It’s like a bad breakup. It’s hard. You’re going to miss it every day for a long time until eventually it hurts a little less. Then one day, you go to bed and realize you didn’t even think about it that day. One day, something new comes into your life and it’s different, but still good. Maybe it’s better. We all love this life — we couldn’t do it if we didn’t — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something else out there for us.
Look, maybe I have no right to say this because I’m still milking my cows, but I know that I’m more than this farm. Dairy farming is so steeped in tradition and ancestry that we tend to forget who we are. We forget that our health and our happiness can come first. It should come first.
If you recently sold, or are the brink of selling, I hope you read this. I hope you read this and think, “I can do this! It won’t be easy, but I’m more than my cows.” Because you are. We all are.
The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.