Featured Farmers: Amber's Story | The Speckled Goat: Featured Farmers: Amber's Story


Featured Farmers: Amber's Story

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 grew up in town, but was familiar with the agriculture and dairy industry, because my grandpa and grandma milked cows and my dad often talked about it (as he also milked before I was born).

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?

It really becomes a lifestyle. You can walk into my house and know that we are dairy farmers.

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?

It has made me trust God's plan for our life a lot more. We have had a lot of ups and downs and eventually we realized we had no idea where we were going. So we might as well trust God that whatever was at the end of the road was worth it.

7. What advice would you give a complete newbie (you know, like me)?

Constantly ask questions. I am relatively new myself and I am constantly asking questions to know more, even if it makes me sound dumb.

...   ...   ...   ...   ...

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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  1. Hey all you young people!! Follow your dreams and passion!!! Never give up! One foot in front of the other!! Very rewarding to know that your hard work and perserverience will pay off! God Speed,!!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement to Amber! Love your advice- follow your dreams!

  2. I am impressed by your tenacity. I grew up in a dairy farming area, but I never heard of anyone trying to break in like this. I hope you can find a farmer to back you!

    1. That's so kind of you to say, Christy!

      It really shows a strength of spirit to know what you want, and to go for it even when people (or banks) think you can't do it.

  3. Best of luck on your journey to full time farming! I pray you can find the backing you need to get started. We've often found comfort in the verse Zechariah 4:10 about not despising small beginnings. It's amazing what the Lord can grow with a small seed. :)

  4. First off, Amber, nice job getting through college without debt!!
    I imagine it would be very difficult to get into farming of any kind if you didn't have a family who farmed. From knowing you from just this post, I really don't doubt that you two will get that farm eventually. It may take time, but you'll get there.

    1. Aw, that's so sweet, Christine! Thanks for encouraging Amber in this very big dream! (And yes, college without debt? Is she a superhero??)

  5. That's so awesome. I love cows, although I've never had a real experience to milk them FOR MILK... I'm sure it's a huge difference between "let's milk a cow at the petting zoo" and "let's collect milk from a herd of cows!"

    I'm also a social worker. I'm staying home with my kids right now so I am not currently in the field, but my goal if I get the chance is to practice Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAGALA model). It makes me wonder if you could do something similar with cows. :)

  6. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I would love if it if you continue to follow my journey at https://freefortheloveofcows.wordpress.com. It is a great feeling to know that other people are wishing us well. Ally, thank you so much for your heart to tell the stories of other farmers :)