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Dairy & Dads... June is a Great Month


Thank you to Greta Halahan for writing this week's blog post!

What are the qualities that you look for most in a leader?  Who do you know that exemplifies gravitas?  I was reading a book on the topic to prepare to teach a workshop, and the two questions took over my thoughts.  What was gravitas anyway? It turns out, it is hard to clearly define.  Gravitas defines the “intangibles” of leadership, the qualities that make people want to hear what the individual has to say, even if they don’t like it.  It is the “it” factor, you know it when you see it, you admire and want to emulate that person.  Gravitas is rare, and yet in my mind, it was easy to identify.  I’m the daughter of a Dairy Farmer, I’ve experienced selfless leadership firsthand all my life.  When people ask me who I am, I’ve always been proud to say that I’m Obie’s granddaughter and Bruce’s daughter.  June is dairy month, but it is also Father’s Day--what a great time to especially appreciate the Dairy Dad.

If there was higher education that specialized in work ethic, the bus would drop all the students at a dairy farm. They would be incapable of re-boarding the bus without well-established work-ethic in tow, along with myriad of life and leadership skills.  What is the truth about the Dairy industry?  The truth lies in the sacrifice and commitment of the Dads, Moms, brothers, sisters, and families that love the industry.  On Christmas Day, the first order of business in our house was taking care of the cows. Often there was extra work to do because employees were home with their families, presents came later.  When a cow was sick, it took my Dad’s patience and perseverance to get her on her feet again.  When it was time to make hay, everyone lived in the fields. Duties included working on the hay, but also supplying sandwiches, refreshments, and encouragement.  Our family’s story is special and unique, and yet, it is also every dairy story.  As I’ve reflected on the leadership of Dairy Dads, I’ve realized that it is not simply their work ethic that sets them apart.   It is an unwavering commitment to do what is right, show up each day without fail, serve the people, steward the land, and care for the animals to which he has been entrusted.  When work ethic and unwavering commitment align, you have a dairy farmer.

I am a dairy farmer’s daughter.  When I think of how my father, grandfather, and the dairy industry have molded and impacted my life, I can only be grateful.  This Father’s Day pour your Dairy Dad a nice cold glass of chocolate milk and share your gratefulness with him.

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