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it takes a village (of the dairy variety)


I've written about silage season here and here before, discussing that unique time of year that is a pretty big deal to dairy farmers and remains unheard of by . . . virtually everyone else. And while I usually end up spending a lot of time thinking about cows and all their bellies and how these couple of weeks are so critical to keeping them fed for the whole year, this year I've spent a lot of time pondering the people behind the season. 

The milkers and herders who keep milking while everyone else is out in the field. 

The guys in the shop who keep the choppers and trucks running. 

The herd health guys who keep the cows cared for and on top of their game.

The people who make parts runs. 

The people who cook and bake to keep everyone fed. 

The guys in the pushing and packing tractors who put in 15-hour days driving back and forth all day long.

My mom, who helped me make Chris a million sandwiches to eat while chopping. 

My sister and her children, who came for several days. She helped me make 20 meals for 20 silage truck and tractor drivers while her older two boys swept the shop and picked up trash and tracked silage truck loads.

The girls who drive big ole tractors like it's no big deal.

My sister-in-laws, who brought protein balls and caramel corn for hungry farmers to snack on while trying to stay awake and delivered snacks and Red Bulls.

My mother-in-law, who makes the world's chewiest oatmeal cookies, which keep ALL the team's spirits up, and who lets a whole lot of family camp out at her house while all of the rest of this is going on.

Little boys, who ride in silage choppers with their dads and uncles and think talking to each other on the radio and being around big machinery constitutes living their best life.  

My brothers-in-law, who drive silage choppers like they're stolen and whip trucks through muddy fields like they're in a demo derby, and live on iced coffees for several days in a row, and have fun doing it. 

My husband and father-in-law, who manage it all from chopper seats and pick-up trucks and can somehow talk on a radio and a phone at the same time without confusing who is talking to whom. 

If you're not a farm family or if you don't know a farmer, just know that for two weeks, everything on the dairy centers around getting corn chopped for cows to eat for the following year so that they can make milk so that you can eat cheese and yogurt and have something in which to dunk your cookies. 

And for those same two weeks, farm families come together to care for one another and for team members, and employees step in and step up to help those who are chopping and hauling silage. 

Everyone is tired, and the work - no matter what it looks like -- is hard. 

It takes a lot of people. 

And it's all so very good. 


  1. Loved reading this! Thank you farmers and all who help you!

  2. All that, and with an obvious eye on the WEATHER! Whew!

    1. The National Weather Service and I are basically BFFs now.

  3. I love farmers and their families. It is hard work. It is rewarding work. It never ends. But they love it.

  4. Awesome! Hope y’all can put your feet up and dunk your own cookies soon!


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