Thank you for 21 great years

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I have actually thought what it would be like to work on a fishing ship, since I love the ocean. But then I discovered that commercial fishermen have one of the highest fatality rates of any occupation.

I am still going to “sail away from the safe harbor.”

Tom Quaife After 31 years at my company — 21 as editor of Dairy Herd Management — I have decided to try new things.

It’s been a great run. I have truly enjoyed serving the information needs of dairy farmers. I have had the privilege of going to hundreds of farms, seeing great innovations, and then sharing that information with tens of thousands of readers every month.

This is my 257th editorial — a chance to pass along a few final observations (and maybe a few life lessons).

  • You can do most anything you want to do in life if you set your mind to it. I didn’t grow up on a farm — my dad worked for radio and TV stations in the Omaha and Kansas City areas. But that didn’t stop me from getting an agricultural journalism degree, then 10 years writing for hog producers and swine veterinarians and 21 years writing for dairy farmers.
  • I am leaving while at the top of my game. That is a lesson that others might want to consider in their jobs. Don’t stick around like former quarterback Brett Favre did and have people remember you on the down-side of a career.
  • Dairy farmers are wonderful people, always willing to help. Over the years, I have gone on numerous road trips, calling ahead to farms and asking if I can visit while in the area. Ninety-nine percent of the time the farm says “yes.” And the farms are very open to sharing information.
  • Farmers have a great story to tell. Maybe I have looked at farms through rose-colored glasses over the years, since I didn’t grow up on one, but I have always found them to be safe havens or sanctuaries. Be sure to share your stories with the outside world. Consumers look to you as a trusted source of information about where their food comes from.

On Dec. 10, I braved 12-degree weather (and even colder wind chills) on a farm tour near Green Bay, Wis., and again observed all of these things at work. One of the farmers we visited, Ray Diederich, explained his robotic milking stations with enthusiasm, and at one point I asked him what he likes best about being a dairy farmer. He said he likes the accomplishment of sending a quality product down the road and he also loves trying new things like the robotic milking stations and the cross-ventilated barn where the robots are located. After hearing people say they like trying new things, I decided to try it for myself. I believe my mind can take me anywhere I want to go, so I am looking forward to new adventures.

Thanks, again, for 21 great years!

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Chris Cochran    
Vail, Colorado  |  January, 07, 2014 at 01:48 PM

Congratulations, Tom. You have done a great job all these years. What is the first new thing you are going to try?

NJ  |  January, 07, 2014 at 02:43 PM

There's certainly hazards working on a dairy farm but you're right about the exceptional dangers of being a commercial fisherman. I read an engrossing and harrowing article in the paper this weekend: I've enjoyed your editorials. Good luck going forward.

Roger W. Meads    
Hortonville, WI  |  January, 07, 2014 at 03:35 PM

Tom, I have enjoyed knowing you and being your subject several times. One of my highlights attending any conventions is visiting with you. You have a wonderful knack of getting people to talk and tell you about themselves. Best of everything and may God Bless you in your new adventures. Hope our paths cross again in the future.

mike roth    
jerome Idaho  |  January, 07, 2014 at 08:40 PM

I have read your articles for years and enjoyed them very much. It takes courage to try something new, I know because I have been thinking about it. Good luck to you and I agree with you that dairy farmers are good guys and want to do the right thing. Thanks for all your work. Mike at Si-Ellen Farms

Liza Bohlmann    
Pretoria, South Africa  |  January, 08, 2014 at 03:39 AM

All the best for your future adventures and endeavours, Tom! I've been following your magazine site for some years now and learnt a great deal about ag journalism and dairy reporting in particular. As a previous editor of a dairy farming magazine in South Africa, I can assure you that you will miss the good times on dairy farms but also enjoy exploring some new frontiers. Of course, a change is as good as a holiday, so enjoy the next chapter in your life without deadlines and chasing copy. After almost a lifetime of writing on dairy and agriculture I will miss your insightful articles and comments in my inbox. Enjoy the change of pace and new interests, stay curious and never stop sharing your experiences.

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