Aug. 22 2023 08:39 AM

At the core of the dairy industry are the cows we admire and the people who care for them every day.

Working in the dairy industry, I have witnessed some moments I will cherish forever. From being able to watch a calf’s first breath to helping a cow recover from illness, there are many things I have been a part of that helped develop my knowledge of the dairy cow.

However, working with cattle isn’t just about these miracle moments. It is about the passion and connections I have made that have shaped me into the person I am today. Dairy farming worldwide is about people. The people do the work, make tough decisions, and can farm successfully. Working in this industry, I have met amazing people from all walks of life. With unwavering commitment and a strong moral compass, dairy farmers embody the qualities of hard work and goodness.

In New Zealand, specifically the Waikato region, dairy farming is a way of life for everyone here. One of the biggest takeaways I have noticed is how much the dairy cow influences communities in the area. In almost every town you drive through, you will see a store for equipment or supplies you would need on the farm and a milk plant where tanker trucks can go with their loads of milk. In the town of Morrinsville, cow figures line the downtown sidewalks for locals to enjoy. It is evident that the economy, environment, and people are all dependent on the dairy cow.

These experiences only reinforce my passion and determination to connect with producers and consumers globally. As the final days of my internship abroad are ending, I know that this experience has undoubtedly changed my view of the dairy industry and how I want to live the rest of my life. The overwhelming welcomeness and comfort I have felt transitioning from an American to New Zealand style of farming from my co-workers and employers is something I am beyond grateful for. I look forward to the future in this dairy industry, wherever it may take me.

Regan Kramer

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.