I smiled and waved as the kids stepped on the bus. It’s going to be a beautiful day today, perfect for getting a lot of outside work done. I had been gone the past couple of days speaking across the state at the annual dairy women’s conference — a much-needed break from the chaos we call farm life. I was sure those two days would leave me feeling refreshed and ready to dive back into farming once I got home.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. As I sit here writing this with tears running down my face, I simply have no motivation to head to the barn. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m honestly an emotional mess.
The low milk prices are certainly starting to take its toll, but we have seen and survived much worse. It’s the constant “hit after hit” that we have been taking lately that has seemed to push me to my limit. It has simply drained the life out of me, or at least that is how I feel.
It would take all day for me to explain the stresses that the weather has brought, the bug that has swept through my calf barn claiming several of my calves, the unexpected electrical project we needed to address immediately costing us quite a bit of money, the early morning, the late nights and just the everyday grind.
I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m a total freakin’ emotional wreck.
I’m also strong, resilient, and too stubborn to quit. Even most importantly, I’m not doing this alone. I have an amazing hard-working husband who will do whatever it takes to keep this dairy dream alive. A man who no matter how bad it gets always makes me feel safe and secure.
Honestly though, we still have cows to milk. We still have a roof over our heads. Every day I hear of another farm selling their cows and/or losing their farm, losing their way of life. My problems are so trivial compared to many others across the country.
So today I am choosing to focus on all the blessings in my life. I am going to head outside, let the sunshine hit my face, kiss the man that would do anything for his family, love on my calves that are not feeling well and pray for the farmers across the country who would give anything to trade places with me, who would give anything to have the “problems” I am having.
Krista Stauffer is a wife, mother of three, and first-generation millennial dairy farmer. Krista works side by side with her husband and kids on their 140-cow dairy.