I’ve often wondered over the years if other professions were encouraged to advocate for themselves in the way farmers and ag industry representatives are. I’ve seen my fair share of teacher appreciation posts on social media, and I know there are plenty of blogs from nurses and other health care professionals.

Gwin emily
Former Editor / Progressive Dairy

But are there national organizations telling these folks they need to “share their story”? That I don’t know, but I’d imagine people in many other careers besides farming feel undervalued by the general population.

One of the most undervalued and underappreciated professions today, in my humble opinion, is the American truck driver. In the spirit of full disclosure, this topic has been on my mind because of my husband, Scott. He runs a trucking company with his family, where they employ about 15 drivers and haul dry cement as well as apples for a local orchard.

We like to joke about the similarities of his family business to my experiences of growing up on a dairy farm. Where my family uses a parlor pit to milk cows, he uses his pit to change oil and work on trucks. Instead of calls at 3 a.m. that a cow is calving, he answers his phone at that time to say yes, he’ll meet a driver on the interstate to fix a flat tire or figure out why the brakes locked up.

In the winter, rather than unfreezing the equipment to get ready for milking, he plugs trucks in each night before turning in to make sure they’ll start for the drivers who leave before daybreak.


It’s funny how my role hasn’t changed much either. Where I used to drop off my dad or brother at a field so they could drive a piece of equipment back to the farm, I get called on every so often to pick up Scott or my father-in-law after they’ve dropped off a truck and to bring them back to the garage.

While I’m sure each industry has its own terminology, I can only assume trucking lingo has to be among the most colorful. Just like I learned the difference between a dry cow and fresh cow growing up, Scott’s been teaching me CB radio talk.

He frequently responds to my text messages with “10-4” and explained to me how “a gator in the hammer lane” translates to a tire tread in the left lane on the highway.

Beyond the fun comparisons, I think it’s important to remember truck drivers are at the mercy of market conditions too. When Grassland Dairy told 50-plus operations it was no longer going to buy their milk, the farmers weren’t the only ones who suffered.

WKOW 27, a news station out of Madison, interviewed milk hauler Randy Hupf, whose milk route included several of those farms. While nearly all of the displaced farms were able to find new homes for their milk, Grassland’s decision forced Hupf to let go about 15 of his 22 drivers. He told the station he hoped to rebuild the business once the market rebounded.

Truck drivers may not have vegan activists trolling their online lives, but they face similar challenges to farmers with government regulations, market concerns and long hours. I am in no way trying to diminish the dairy celebration this month.

I’m just saying while we’re celebrating dairy farmers and promoting our product, let’s also recognize the men and women who help transport that product as well as the livestock, supplies and equipment needed for dairy farmers to make a living. Over and out.