You all may not believe this but I love dairying. I love the sights, the sounds and the smells. I enjoy the early hours and the late hours. I love watching that calf be born and then two years later watching her give birth and become productive. I enjoy the challenge that working with employees brings and seeing them grow. I feel the stretch of the political, environmental and the regulatory but it does not overwhelm me. I love having my family on the farm with me. I also greatly enjoy attending baseball games. Ted Williams said, “The hardest thing to do in baseball is to hit a round ball with a bat, squarely.” In all my loves of dairying, I think the most difficult thing is this blending of today’s larger farms with family involvement, much like Mr. Williams said of hitting.
Today’s family farms are not all like yesterdays, but they are still family farms. I now think not only of my family as family but also of my employees and their families, of my neighboring farm families and even those I have just met or have read about. So much of what we face in our industry has grown from country to state to region to national to global, that just as many of our farms, the dairy industry family is also growing.
I mentioned that I enjoy baseball. My son Ted and I have a goal to someday have watched a game in every major league ballpark. They say you’re only young once but you can be immature forever. It’s not something we expect to do this year or next but over our lifetime, together we would like to do this. It’s a together over time thing. Much like many of the changes that will occur in dairy, they will happen together, and over time.
Many times I have mentioned my family in this brief column. How I have been blessed with a great mom and dad; four sisters and their families; a loving wife; we justcelebrated our 26th anniversary; nine super kids; two sons-in-law, (one more on the way); two grandkids; and three dogs. However, I now think of others also as family; and so again to Kaye and Susan in the office thanks for covering my back. To Sharon, you know we love you and as many of us on the board refer to you, you’re the best dairy sister we could have. To the board, you’re all great but as they say “don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a bat.”