Today's Featured Farmer is Amber of For the Love of Cows.
Welcome, Amber, and thanks for joining us!
1. Tell us a little about yourself!
Currently I am a senior social work major at Northwestern college and getting a degree in social work and theatre. My husband and I live in northwest Iowa, where he is the herdsman of a 700 cow dairy.
We are currently trying to start our herd in hopes that some day we will have our own 150 cow dairy. We currently have four dairy cows of our own. On the weekends and when I don't have to work or go to school, I actively work alongside my husband. My favorite part is working with the calves and the maternity pen.
2. How did you get started in agriculture?
I never had an interest until my husband and I went to college and needed to figure out a way to pay for college. We started filling every spare moment with milking shifts and eventually began raising our own calves in our backyard. This became not only a way to make money, but something that we enjoyed doing together.
3. What is your favorite part of being a dairy farmer?
My favorite part of being a dairy farmer is that I get to work outside with animals. Even though cows are often stubborn, it is satisfying to be able to work with my own hands and accomplish something.
4. What have you struggled with?
The hardest thing that my husband and I have found is that it is very hard to get into the industry unless you have someone (like a parent) to back you up, especially financially.
We have attempted multiple times to buy our own dairy, but have never been approved for the loans. This was not because of our credit, but rather because we were "too risky". We didn't have parents who had a farm with everything paid off and would co-sign for it.
We’re two people in our early 20's, about to graduate college with no debt and no money. Even when trying to work with the FSA, who is supposed to help out young farmers, we were unable to get the help or support needed.
5. What has been the most surprising thing about incorporating dairy farming into your life?
The muck boots line our dining room and our coveralls dangle from hooks decorating our halls. My car always smells like cow and I never buy any piece of clothing without thinking that it will probably get covered in manure.
6. How has being involved in agriculture affected your faith?
7. What advice would you give a complete newbie (you know, like me)?
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Amber is a jersey loving dairy farmer who is passionate about advocating for and educating people about the dairy industry on her blog, For the Love of Cows. She lives in northwest Iowa with her herdsman husband.
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