A new generation of dairy farmers is producing high-quality milk today because they love the business and are committed to it. That is what you’ll hear in a YouTube video trailer titled “Young, Savvy & into Dairy,” in which four young producers from northeast Michigan talk about why they are dairy farmers.
Jeremy Beebe, a first generation dairy producer from Whittemore, Mich., tells what it means to him to dairy. Beebe says, “I’m here because I love it, and the reason I love it is because it’s a wholesome place to raise a family and enjoy a career.”
You can hear the pride in Sara Brindley’s voice as she talks about her cows. “I love being with the cows”. Brindley, of West Branch, Mich., continues on to describe the process of building a good herd of dairy cows, a process that with each cow takes around three years from the time of breeding until the heifer calf has entered the milking herd. “It’s a long time to wait and see if something is going to work, but when it does, it really makes it worth it, to know that you really worked hard to get her that far and it turned out so well.”
Pride is part of each of these producers. Chris Daniels, of Whittemore, Mich., notes that some people talk about their job by saying that they work for someone or some company, and others talk about their career as who they are. In that distinction, Daniels places himself and farmers firmly in the group that says that being a farmer is who they are. That’s the pride that they take in what they do. That pride shows through in the quality of the product they produce and the care they take of the land and animals.
Keith Kartes, of West Branch, Mich., chose to stay on the farm right out of school and for him, there was no question about what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and for a living. He says, “I just love doing it.”
These young people are part of the Young, Savvy & into Dairy group that Phil Durst of MSU Extension brought together and works with in the West Branch, Mich. area four years ago. Another group was started in the Alpena-Harrisville, Mich. area two years ago. The young people get together monthly to discuss dairy and to enjoy the time together with their peers. They learn from one another, challenge one another and support one another.
The video project was begun because these young dairy producers want consumers to understand what they do and why they do it. They want consumers to know the passion they have for this business and that consumers can have confidence in the quality of the food products that start on the farm because it is so important to these producers.
The plans are to produce a full-length video that can be used in a variety of ways to reach consumers with their message – a message that they keep learning how to tell.