Holding on to farm and family values can be a challenge in today’s world
By Darren Turley
TAD Executive Director
I sit down to write this report in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. I cannot imagine the loss that these families feel during this terrible act of violence. The world is very different than when I grew up on my family’s dairy farm. People are so set on forcing their vengeance, opinion and way of life onto others every day and in every way imaginable.
I was raised to feel fortunate for the life we had taking care of our animals and our land. As I have grown older, I realize more and more how unique the dairy lifestyle is; maybe that is why dairy families are some of the best people I know. I am fortunate to meet dairy families from across the nation, and they are all genuinely good and friendly people.
I believe that the best part of my farming career was that I saw my parents daily and they saw my girls most days as well. Much of the rest of the world is not this lucky. I believe we should be proud of this part of our industry and share these stories as often as possible. That so many farms are home to and operated by multiple generations speaks to how great the family environment is on Texas dairy farms. The dairy industry has a great story to tell about our families and the values that we develop on our farms.
The changes in people’s motives also are seen in the employees we hire. Today some people are seeking employment on a dairy just to instigate animal abuse so they can film it and share in order to negatively impact our industry. This is unimaginable to me when the world has so many issues that deserve our attention which do not require the falsification of facts.
Labor shortages are becoming an issue for all dairy farmers, and there definitely are not enough applicants with an agriculture background. In the future, technology will change our labor needs. But today, every employee must be scrutinized and researched to confirm they are looking for a position and not a platform to attack your farm and our industry.
A few things are guaranteed: the world is going to continue to change, and we will continue to be a family-driven industry. You work hard to protect your cows and keep them healthy. Today that is harder than ever with animal activists, but take time to cherish your family and stop to say a few prayers for all those impacted in these terrible attacks.