I feel as though I should go back and thank the poor employees who had the unfortunate job of shepherding the work ethic of a nine-year-old. I was one rebellious little sheep. There was a generous overlap between work and home that caused me to not take work very seriously. Dad was the boss, my cousins were co-workers, and we would do everything we could to get out of work early to go play on the farm. There were many times when I resented going to work, much like many kids resent their chores I guess. I never realized how lucky I was to have job security and be on the payroll at nine years old; I took it all for granted. It took going away for a couple years to discover how much of my heart was in the farm, and how much I learned from it."
"Reintegrating back into the business had never been the plan. In my mind, working there was just part of my childhood, part of growing up, and my part of pitching in to the family business. People would joke about me eventually taking over the cheese business from my Dad, and I always laughed at the idea and thought “HA. FUNNY.” But then, moving back a couple years ago, I started working in the cheese room again. I figured it was a transition-time, some easy income until I could figure out what was next, so I put the boots and hairnet back on. A few weeks turned into a few months, and I starting taking on more and more responsibilities."
"When I was little, I remember that every so often, the phone would ring in the middle of the night. I could hear Dad asking questions in a steady, patient tone. Shortly after that, I’d hear footsteps and the sound of the truck starting up; I’d peek out my window and see the taillights fade into the distance as my dad drove off to work. I remember how I thought my dad was like a superhero. Someone needed his help. Cut to about a year and a half ago. I had moved back home, and was living in my parent’s house for the first time in four years. It was the middle of the night, and I heard the phone ring. I felt like such a kid again. Same muffled questions, same patient tone. I remember feeling so different though -- instead of thinking about how my Dad was a superhero who was going to go help someone, I thought “Uh oh, what went wrong? What is work going to look like tomorrow now? Did someone make a mistake in pasteurizing? Was there a mistake in the milking parlor? Did something break down?” I realized the true weight of those late night calls. No one wants to wake up the boss in the middle of the night, so it had to be pretty serious for them to call."
"As my husband and I have had the opportunity to be a part of the future of our farm, I feel like in one hand I am holding my best childhood memories, in the other hand the consistent hard work it takes to be successful. I’m constantly reminding myself to keep that childlike trust and faith in God while dealing with the difficult parts of work, especially the things that are unknown or out of my control. Thankfully, I have some great role models -- my Dad and uncle Rich, who have trusted God through those midnight crisis calls for 30 years, and my mom and Aunt Ann, who were the ones left at home waiting, trusting that no matter what happened, everything would work out. I don’t think it was easy. They worked really hard to continue the dream that my Pake had when he came to the States. They worked really hard to build something for the next generation. I can only hope that I can follow in their faithful footsteps, and I hope my children will get to grow up the same way that I did."
"I always wanted to be part of the farming/agriculture world. I think it was always a desire I held close to my heart. I grew up in the country, surrounded by farms. Nothing beats the smell of fresh cut grass and freshly plowed fields. I can’t say I enjoyed the manure smell, but you get used to it after a while! All 4 of my brothers at one point or another worked for those neighboring farms. I got used to running lunches out to tractors and silage trucks, or just hopping in and riding along for some company. So it wasn't shocking, when my second date with Chris was bringing him dinner and hanging out in the tractor! We were married within a year and I became a farmer’s wife."
"First thought in my head, I totally got this. I’ve lived around farms my entire life, this will be easy. Well let me tell ya, there is a big difference in living next to a farm, and living on a farm. It took a little bit to adapt! The things I learned the fastest : I will probably never be on time to anything ever again. Keep a pair of boots on hand in case the cows get out on date night or Sunday, so you don't ruin your heels chasing them back in! Farm smell follows you everywhere, it's on you, your coat, your shoes, even my dog smells like a farm now! But hey, free cheese and milk for life! It was however, a little hard to adapt to farm life and the fact that this is a 24/7 job. It’s long days, late hours and random dinner times. However, you have a conversation with my husband about cows, machinery, or fieldwork and you can tell how much he loves his job."
"So, when we had a chance to buy into the farm, we decided to do it. I don't think I fully understood at the time the big step we were taking. But it’s been incredible to slowly become involved, understanding how a farm works, and how its run in its entirety. I think it’s particularly amazing that we also get to do this at a young age, become part of the farm, yet still have plenty of time to grow and learn from our parents. Seeing their full trust in God, to provide, but also being able to be humble and believing in His strength in good times and bad. Knowing that money is not the root of happiness, and farming will be filled with ups and downs, but the love of the job God has given you and complete trust in Him trumps all. We are learning respect of the elements, animals, the wisdom of other farmers and the power of prayer. I feel like I have learned an incredible amount already! We are getting to keep a family tradition alive, by participating in something both Chris and I love and have a heart for."
"Farming, like so many people have told me is a lifestyle. We are choosing the farm, for our family. I am excited for someday, our kids to grow up on the farm. Hopefully learning the many things farming has to teach, like a strong work ethic, responsibility, problem solving, communication and the love and respect of animals. I am proud and incredible grateful for the chance to be a part of this legacy. This farm now spans 3 generations, and someday, if they choose so maybe our children will be the 4th."