There’s still plenty of opportunities available for young people to find their place on the dairy farm. However, the business of milking cows has undoubtedly changed over the years and that doesn’t mean a young person can be successful on a dairy farm. June is considered National Dairy Month to help promote drinking milk, created for the dairy demand in 1937. A local family-owned dairy located east of Parker operates a 550 head dairy operation and dedicates itself to taking pride in caring for their cows.
Fifteen-year-old Natalie Haase will be a sophomore at Parker High School in the fall and has been a member of the Turner County 4-H group for several years. She said some of her memories growing up on a dairy farm are calf chores twice a day when she was seven years old and helping feed the bottle calves until they were weaned. When school was only four days a week, she would hang out with her dad (Dustin) on Friday’s and help with preg checks. Preg checks meant the veterinarian would ultrasound the cows to make sure she is pregnant and afterward, they would have lunch at Kelly’s.
There are seven different dairy cow breeds; Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn and Red and White Holstein. She explained they raise Holstein cows or black and white cows because they produce the most milk and that’s what her dad and uncle Bruce raised when they were younger. They produce 80 pounds of milk per cow a day and some other breeds only produce 60 pounds per cow a day. Haase said that once the cows are milked, two trucks come to the farm and load the milk and haul it to Lake Norden.
She believes dairy farms are essential because milk, cheese and ice cream are things that people enjoy. Haase noted that not so much ice cream, but milk, cheese, yogurt are nutritious and dairy farms are good ways to connect with people through farms. People like to watch calves and see the process of how cows get milked.
On a typical day as a young farmer, Haase wakes up to start a preg check or place embryos in the female cows. She said that when it comes to calf chores, her sister Paige and brother Neal take care of the calves. Sometimes things on the farm need to be fixed or work needs to be done with the crops to help feed the cows.
Haase said that her inspiration to be a dairy farmer stems from growing up on the farm and having the opportunity to spend time in the barn when it comes to dairy cattle. She explained that every Friday, they do pen changes and she gets to be in the barn all morning. The environment is peaceful and she considers it her (me time).
She encourages young people to spend time around a dairy farm and if you’re looking to work with dairy cows, there are many farms in the area that are looking for help. They need to know how to work with cattle have time management because many things need to be accomplished on a dairy farm daily. When it comes to owning a dairy farm, communication is vital because whether there is only one employee or 20, they need to know what and how tasks need to be done.