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maryjane Posted - Apr 01 2015 : 4:49:53 PM
Just thought you'd like to see an article we just finished for the Newsroom section of the June/July issue of MaryJanesFarm.

Spotlight on Female Dairy Farmers
While more and more young women are returning to their roots as part of a national small-farm renaissance, the majority of rookie farmers focus on crop and meat farming. Dairy farming, as a result, is teetering on the verge of extinction.

“Dairy in Montana is really having a hard time. It’s on the verge of potential collapse. There are only 68 farms left across the state,” Connie Surber, co-owner of The Golden Yoke dairy in St. Ignatius, Montana, told Modern Farmer.

But hope is not lost, thanks to women like Surber and her partner, Laura Ginsburg, who are passionate about their occupation. “We think we can show a model of dairy farming that could be sustainable for dairy farmers to make a good living, support their community, and make a product that people want.”

The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) shares this vision and has recently made it their mission to spotlight female dairy farmers in an effort to draw more women into this field of farming. In a partnership with Stonyfield Farm, NYFC selected five young female dairy farmers to write monthly blog posts for one year as part of the Coalition’s Bootstrap Blogger series.

“These farmers chronicled their experiences [about] starting a new farm business each month on From seeds and breeds, to tools and equipment, to why they decided to become farmers, the series’ posts are filled with inspiration and encouragement to young people considering farming careers,” explained NYFC.

A handful of the series’ farmers also created companion videos to their blog posts, and these videos were officially released this spring. Offering behind-the-scenes perspectives on sustainable, small-scale dairy farming, the videos present a unique and undeniable source of inspiration for others interested in pursuing careers in agriculture.

“Watching these courageous young women tend to their herds and manage farm businesses is the opposite of what most people see in their daily lives,” says NYFC. “It’s a warm reminder of where and how our food is made, and it illustrates the difference between industrial agriculture and the farmers who have a true love for the land and the animals they raise.”

Watch the whole series at

And how about these little factoids?
According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, of the 2.1 million principal operators of farms in the U.S., 288,264 were women. But, according to former Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, “When all women involved with farming are added up—including primary and secondary operators—they are nearly one million strong and account for 30% of U.S. farmers.”

Go, girls!
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CloversMum Posted - Apr 15 2015 : 11:58:12 AM
That sounds like a delightful farm store. Will you still go here after you have your own milk cow? I'm thinking I would just to get the other local farm products and to soak up some of the atmosphere...sounds like a fun place.
txbikergirl Posted - Apr 08 2015 : 11:44:17 AM
yes, the waldo way is a bright spot in the dairy world. the owner, Ris, is a nurse and phd that worked in the medical field and teaching... as she says it, she left the "illness" business to get into the "wellness" business. all raw milk, raw milk products, and lovely homemade goodness that is low on sugar and high in nutrients and probiotics. she also sells at her store all the products of local farms that couldn't pull together a farm store, so we get honey and beef and pork and bread and just too much to list.

oops... gotta go, chick in the tub screaming its head off...
CloversMum Posted - Apr 08 2015 : 11:33:04 AM
I looked up Waldo Way Farm and it looks like an amazing place. Beautiful pictures of beautiful cows! And, it appears that they have been in business for only a few years...look at what they've done! Pretty inspiring.
maryjane Posted - Apr 04 2015 : 5:40:01 PM
I would love to visit. How inspiring. I love all the little pockets of sanity that exist in the world. Not to worry about their milk supply; soon you'll have your own:)
txbikergirl Posted - Apr 03 2015 : 06:20:35 AM
The raw milk dairy I go to, Waldo Way Farm in Mineola TX, is so far from extinction it is amazing. they open at 9am Wed thru Saturday... and almost every day there is a line of anywhere from 5-15 cars before they open. their Guernsey milk sells out in the first 15 minutes to one hour. every day. EVERY day.

I had been to other raw milk dairies, but this place is one of a kind. It reminds me of the type of place you would like MJ. Ris, the owner, and her son Trenton run the dairy. they only have 30 cows or so and 15 milking at a time. they LOVE their cows, just rave on them and treat them as part of the family. they had a little calf two weeks ago, and that little guy is so used to people he was walking around the first week in between the customers wanting to be petted... and momma cow was ok with it.

this place is my model for my place, even though i am not going for dairy status. but it effuses love, wellness, striving towards being back to the basics, and knowing what matters in life. i'm not too much of a "feel goody" person, but you feel the positive energy at this place the moment you step in the door.

now if they could only add a few more cows so all their customers could get that precious milk regularly...
maryjane Posted - Apr 02 2015 : 02:17:08 AM
I thought of you when I worked on it. How's Betsy doing?
CloversMum Posted - Apr 01 2015 : 9:04:58 PM
Cool article, MaryJane. Thank you for sharing.
CloversMum Posted - Apr 01 2015 : 9:04:10 PM
Dairy farming teetering on the brink of extinction?? Yikes!

I agree with you, Keeley...I too see the details and sometimes don't step far enough back to see the whole picture. Or I do see the whole picture and get so impatient when I can't get to that stage quick enough. I can see a vision for my own farm and struggle with waiting and knowing what steps to conquer first. I forget to look back and see how far everything has come...when I do, I am overcome with gratefulness! And new zest for going forward.
farmlife Posted - Apr 01 2015 : 8:24:26 PM
I can't say that I'm the most pleasant after a long day fencing, Ron, but I'm the one who noticed when our rooster got frostbite and I was the third person to see him when it developed. Sometimes I have a tendency to get caught up in the details and sometimes forget the big picture though. Oops.
Ron Posted - Apr 01 2015 : 5:15:47 PM
I am here to tell you. I've watched and worked with both and to be honest it seems like the girls have any eye for detail. Not to mention they are much more pleasant to be around after a long day of fencing. Strictly speaking for myself. :)