My dad spoke at the funeral for a man who worked for us for most of his life and did his own rendition of “So God made a farmer.” I thought it was really neat and decided to write my own version of what it means to me that God specifically made and molded a dairy farmer.
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a dairy farmer.” God said, “I need somebody to get up before dawn, check for newborn calves, milk a herd of cows, put out feed, work a group of growing heifers, milk cows again, fix whatever is broken that day, go home eat supper, get called back to the farm to fix another milking machine, and not get back home till almost midnight.” So, God made a dairy farmer.
God said, “I need someone to go back to the farm after being there sunup to sundown to help a cow calve, working with the calf and trying everything you can to get it to live, but then it dies. I need someone to dry their eyes, check on the mom, give her a pat and say, ‘Sorry girl, maybe next year.’” So, God made a dairy farmer.
God said, “I need someone to be able to fix fence, put out hay, and fix water troughs. Someone who can fix anything with WD-40, bailing twine, and duct tape.” He needed someone willing to grow and cut silage while putting in a 40-hour work week by Wednesday morning, then putting in another 45 hours the rest of the week cutting, hauling, and packing the silage. So, God made a dairy farmer.
God said, “I need someone strong enough to dig fence post holes and throw tires on a silage pit in 103°F weather, but gentle enough to tend to calves and cows. It has to be someone focused and determined, someone that does not cut corners. Someone to seed, feed, breed, rake, plow, plant, and milk, all while holding a family together with sweat, determination, and most importantly, faith.”
When I think of my family and my employees, this is how I feel. I couldn’t ask for a better family or work crew. They give it their all, and even when they fail, they get up the next morning to do it all over again with the faith of a better day. To me, being a dairy farmer is something you don’t just become or decide to do. It’s something that runs in your veins.
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.