Growing up on a small family farm in rural Wisconsin, I have always been surrounded by the dairy industry. From a young age, I knew that the dairy cow would be an important part of my life; I just didn’t know how much it would change it. My name is Regan Kramer, and I am a junior at Iowa State University studying Agricultural Studies and International Agriculture. From June to August, I have been allowed to travel across the globe and live, work, and study dairy production in New Zealand.
On the outskirts of a small New Zealand town named Matamata stands Ludlow Hills, a 900-cow dairy farm. Chad and Jan Winke, formally of Waukon, Iowa, are farm shareholders overseeing the labor, management, and daily production. You can learn more about the Winkes in the article, “U.S. dairy family settled and soaring in New Zealand.”The Iowa State University and University of Illinois alumni have lived and worked in New Zealand for just under 20 years now. Each summer or winter in the southern hemisphere, the couple hires an intern from the states to stay for a couple of months and assist with seasonal calving, milking, and other tasks that arise as the day-to-day duties on the farm.
When our family decided to sell our milk cows in 2018, I started working on a neighbors’ dairy farm throughout high school and now into college when I am back home over breaks and weekends. My brothers and I still own a handful of registered Jersey heifers that we show throughout the show season, and I have had the opportunity to work for many different high-quality show herds, either helping at shows or assisting with sales. In college, I am an avid leader within the Dairy Science Club at Iowa State University. I am a tri-chair on the Sale and Luncheon Committee and volunteer at various events throughout the year. With that being said, I have had many different dairy cattle experiences and seen all sorts of different dairy operations, something I am most looking forward to learning about while I am abroad this summer.
Originally, I planned to spend the summer of my junior year of high school here in Matamata. However, due to COVID-19, other plans were implemented for me. Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, New Zealand finally decided to reopen its borders, and thus I was allowed to enter the country. Over these next several weeks, I am looking forward to learning more about the culture and dairy industry in New Zealand and sharing it with you!
Kramer is a student at Iowa State University majoring in agricultural studies and international agriculture. During the summer of 2023, she is working on a 900-cow dairy farm in New Zealand.