Don’t measure others by the number of cows they have (…or don’t have)

Brown Swiss cowIt’s an instantaneous reaction for those of us in agriculture. The minute someone says the are a farmer, we immediately begin questioning them about how many cows they have, how many acres they farm and all of the subsequent questions.

But does it really matter if someone has 60 cows or 600 cows? Or, what if they don’t have any cows at all? Trust me, I’m as guilty about doing this as the farmer down the road, but the answers to those questions shouldn’t make a difference as to how we view that person.

As I was judging a recent dairy princess competition, I found that a number of the girls came from farms that recently sold their cows. My family, too, sold our milking cows when I was a senior in high school.  Personally, it was very difficult for me to accept this change because I felt that I was defined by living on a dairy farm. I was self-conscious about what others in the industry might think, but I honestly believe that I became a stronger promoter of the dairy industry because of it.

Now, I am excited to see other young promoters showing a similar fervent passion for an industry that they too are a part of, even if they may not have any milking cows at home.

So, instead of making small talk and asking someone how many cows they have, get to know them personally – their values, their dreams and what drives them. After all, aren’t these the things that really matter?

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5 Responses to Don’t measure others by the number of cows they have (…or don’t have)

  1. Scott Owens says:

    Hey Raechel; Did a focus group with large dairies in Western NY one time, yea, you probably know most of them. Cow numbers and acres were the last thing they wanted to talk about. Their business models dealt with how effectively and efficiently “they produced and managed commodities”. That removes the typical numbers game to a totally different and positive level when you change your mindset and mental filters to that dimension. It also makes the dream discussion very interesting. Great article … as usual.

  2. Heckman, Gary says:

    Great message for any “first discussion” you have with someone. Thanks for the reminder!!

  3. cecilia says:

    I have one cow.. her name is Daisy and her milk feeds me, my family and numerous other animals on the farm, a little farm, a teensy weensy farm actually. But to me, I am as busy and happy as a ‘real’ farmer! c

  4. Dennis Spangler says:

    Yes, success can come in all sizes. Moderation is an attribute that would benefit all of us.

  5. Pingback: Why can’t we all get along? | gobeyondthebarn

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