Editor's Note: The following article was written by the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition as part of its "20 questions with..." series. Click here to read more dairy farmer profiles.
click image to zoom Dairy farmers are fairly ordinary people, but they are doing extraordinary things, and this featured farmer is no different. While she (yes – she) has a little different background and upbringing than most dairy farmers, there is no contesting her passion, enthusiasm and commitment to being a full-time farmer – and a mom – and a wife – and a volunteer – practically a “rock star”. Here she is – my friend, and now yours – Mrs. Kristin Cox!
1. Who are you?
My name is Kristin Cox. I am a dairy farmer and deep down inside I am a “Jersey girl” and I don’t mean the brown cow. I am 39 years old and have been married to my husband Slade for 17 years. We have four children – Abbie 15, Lydia 12, Merritt 9, and Everett 6. I grew up in Freehold, New Jersey, which is the hometown of Bruce Springsteen, so that song My Hometown really is about my hometown. I graduated from Cornell in 1996 and we started our dairy farm in 2001.
2. Why are you a dairy farmer?
After my husband was in a farm accident in May of 2013 and broke his neck, I spent a good bit of time “soul searching” for the answer to this question. First, I should say that Slade is doing fine and is mostly recovered. I am a farmer because of a man named Walter and my father. When I was a kid, I lived across the street from one of the only remaining cash crop farms in my community. Walter and his wife, Gloria, were like grandparents to me, and my father helped out on his farm often with me always tagging along. I have often said my parents should have known I would farm someday when I was 11 and planted my first crop of soybeans in my own garden in the backyard. I think I used my crop that year to feed my Barbie dolls. I have also always loved animals, so I went to Cornell University to study Animal Science. From there, I became a part of Cornell’s Dairy Fellows program, met my husband, and the rest is history.
3. How would you describe your farm?
I asked my 9-year old this question and his answer was “It’s crazy,” and I think he is probably right. We have 185 cows and 170 heifers at our farm. Last year, we purchased the farm at the other end of our road and we are currently milking in two places. We have about 430 acres and we live on a quiet back road where we know almost everyone who drives by. My nieces and nephews all know that it is always fun at Aunt Kristin’s and you never know what will be going on.