Marriage and Cows
June 15, 2021
Farming with family is something many of us are familiar with, but with tight margins and rising cost of health insurance, many farm families require one or more jobs away from the farm. The days where a family could rely solely on the farm income seem to be dwindling away.
When my wife, Emily, and I first got engaged, we started discussing the idea of the two of us farming together along with my mom and dad. She was working for Southern Illinois University as a researcher with the weed science department and had fairly good benefits. Needless to say, I was somewhat reluctant to jump on board with her leaving that position, knowing that we would not only be sacrificing the benefits, but the farm would now be solely responsible for supporting two families. Fortunately, with the expansion of the dairy in 2016 we have been working side by side with my parents for the last five and a half years.
At first, it was a lot! We had just gotten married and we were still getting used to the idea of living together, much less spending the entire day together at work. First thing in the morning, the priority was tending to the daily cow needs. Fetching push cows, treating sick cows, and breeding cows in heat were all part of the morning routine and this is where we learned the most about one another. She got to see my lack of patience on full display and I was learning just how foreign dairy farming was to her. There were fights and tears, but there was, and still is, a lot of laughter and smiles. Whether it was the first time we successfully fixed a displaced abdomen on an older cow, or the first time we resuscitated a newborn calf with CPR, we have been by each other’s side through it all.
I understand that this isn't an option for all families and that is exactly why I feel so fortunate that we get to do what we both love and do it together. With our firstborn on the way I have no doubt that we are in for plenty of excitement and stress but if there is anything I have learned in the last five years it is that with a little bit of patience and a whole lot of love a couple who farms together can do anything together.