When some people think of dairy farmers, they might picture overalls and a pitchfork. This should not be surprising with 98% of people two to three generations removed from farming and agriculture. But as the other 2%, we know this vision of what dairy farmers are like could not be further from the truth. Dairy farmers are some of the mostinnovative and progressive peoplein all of agriculture, finding ways todo more with less in order to feed our growing population.

From feeding the world while protecting the environment and natural resources, farmers have one of the most important jobs in the world. And at the end of the day, consumers want to know who is behind their food. They want to know farmers look like them, have families, contribute to their communities and provide the most wholesome and safest product for everyone to enjoy.

As farmers in the dairy industry, we know all of this is true. Over 50% of dairy farms are operated by women, 95% are family-owned and most farmers are part of the next generation stepping in to continue their family’s legacy. But, it is up to us to pull back the curtain and help consumers meet the farmer behind dairy foods, especially since people always trust the messenger before the message.

Dairy MAX is committed to sharing dairy-farm family stories to continue bridging the gap between consumers and where their food comes from. Meet a few farmers in the region who are part of the next generation taking on responsibilities on their family farms.


Syke Talsma – Talsma Dairy, Texas

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Growing up, I was always involved at the dairy helping with feeding, chores and occasionally raking hay. Our parents always encouraged us to go out and travel and then decide what we wanted to do. After high school, I went to the local community college and then transferred to Tarleton State University where I studied agribusiness management. After graduating, I worked a few different jobs, but none of them really felt like they were what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, so I moved back home to our dairy farm in the fall of 2015, and it was the best decision I could have ever made. I now work on our dairy as the full-time manager of our calf herd.

My inspiration is 110% my parents for having the courage to move across the world to follow their dreams of becoming dairy farmers and having their own dairy to raise a family on. They are the hardest-working people I know.

Being a dairy farmer is work and vacation all packaged into one beautiful gift. I wake up every day not knowing what new tasks are at hand but get to work alongside my family and spend the entire day sun up to sun down in our own piece of paradise.

Click here to learn more about Syke’s experience making sure the calves on her farm get off to the best start possible.

Kameron Peschel – Peschel’s Dairy Inc., Colorado

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I came back to work on my family’s dairy after graduating from Colorado State University because I love working with the cows, being outside and having routine. I enjoy the ability to make decisions. When I worked for other people right out of college, I missed learning what was going on behind the scenes. It was always my dream to come back and work on the farm because it’s where I can provide the most value to people by bringing them nutritious dairy foods.

My role on our farm is doing a little bit of everything. I joke that it’s my job to work on everyone else’s day off! I ensure our cows get the best care possible and continue steering our herd in the right direction through research and management practices. When I’m not on the farm, I’m involved in groups with other young farmers to stay up-to-date and keep our farm sustainable.

Kyle Humphrey – Humphrey & Humphrey Dairy, Texas 

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For me, growing up, I knew from the start that dairy farming was all I ever wanted to do. I spent all my time as a kid with my dad tagging along with him at work. The older I got, the more I realized what my family had built over the years and how everything they did they were doing it for my siblings, cousins and me. There’s nothing I have wanted to do more than appreciate what they did for us by continuing to add to everything they built and sacrificed for the generations to come.

I dairy farm because I have a passion in knowing that I am making an impact by using our recourses to the best of my ability toward the care, comfort and nutrition of my animals. Whether that’s improving soil health, growing feed for my animals more efficiently, or combatting food waste by feeding our cows byproducts that aren’t edible by humans and would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Click here to learn more about Kyle and his role on his family’s dairy farm.

Emily and Garrett Lochner – Bentwood Dairy, Texas

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After meeting in college at Texas Tech University, Garrett and I got married and made the decision to move back to my family’s dairy farm, Bentwood Dairy, to work alongside my parents growing and expanding the business. Bentwood Dairy isn’t just a dairy – we also grow beef cattle, grass, hay and row crops. We had been away from the dairy for nine years but could see the opportunity for the business to grow exponentially alongside my parents.

Garrett works every day on the dairy farm. In the mornings, he gets up and makes sure our calves get the individual attention they need and checks on the adult cows. After that, every day is different. He may be cleaning pens, chopping silage, planting corn, building fence, and on and on. We live right on the dairy, so I’m available any time extra hands are needed. I also work on a contract-basis from home in events and marketing, so I can be available in times of need. Picking up lunch during harvest season, helping care for the animals, picking up equipment parts; I’m there to help. Plus, I enjoy riding through the pastures checking on cows every evening.

For us, we’re inspired by the world of agriculture and the opportunity to take a piece of land and turn it into something valuable and memorable. The chance to take grass and make protein from milk and the opportunity to help feed our growing population. More than anything, it’s the pride that comes with seeing a hard day’s work accomplished.

I think most people envision farmers wearing overalls and a straw hat, when in reality we’re really just like everyone else. I have more skinny jeans and heels than I do work pants and boots. But this isn’t a job where you clock out at five o’clock and go home and lay on the couch. It’s checking cows before dinner, helping treat a cow in the pouring rain at midnight, worrying about corn prices, or calling the farm every hour – even when you’re on the one vacation you take a year. And really, it’s all we’ve ever known.

Gerret Boer – Boer Dairy, Texas

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I graduated from Oklahoma State University this year with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and ag business. What made me decide to come back home to work on my family’s farm as a fifth-generation farmer was my love for the cows and the dairy community. Most of my memorable moments have come from growing up on the farm and around cattle.

What inspires me is seeing the contributions I have made to my family’s farm. Most dairy farms are owned by families like mine, and a lot of hard work goes into making the dairy foods you love.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Syke Talsma – Talsma Dairy, Texas. Photo courtesy of Syke Talsma.

PHOTO 2: Kameron Peschel – Peschel’s Dairy Inc., Colorado. Photo courtesy of Kameron Peschel.

PHOTO 3: Kyle Humphrey – Humphrey & Humphrey Dairy, Texas. Photo courtesy of Kyle Humphrey.

PHOTO 4: Emily and Garrett Lochner – Bentwood Dairy, Texas. Photo courtesy of Emily and Garrett Lochner.

PHOTO 5: Gerret Boer – Boer Dairy, Texas. Photo courtesy of Gerret Boer.

This blog was brought to you courtesy of Dairy MAX.