Rachel Spencer Gabel of Ag Daily highlights the story of Julie Alexander, a former dairy farmer, and her recent post to social media about shutting down their family operation. The post has received a lot of attention as many find her experience relatable.
Alexander posted, to her husband, Jeff’s, initial chagrin, her thoughts as the cattle trucks left their yard one last time and their days as a dairy family ended. She recounted the rewards and challenges of their life on the dairy farm that struck a chord online with those familiar with life on a farm, and those who are not.
“I worked extensively at creating that to make sure my message was what I wanted it to be,” she said. “Something that would offer not only insight but a better understanding for those not involved in agriculture.” She never imagined the popularity the post would receive and said there are other anecdotes she may have included had she only known.
In the post, she details experiences familiar to many farm and ranch families that also shed light on the lifestyle for those not involved in production agriculture. Alexander chronicled the “anticipation of Christmas morning, opening presents could only take place after chores” and the “dreaded knock on the door from a kind neighbor” to let you know the heifers are out when your husband is gone. She also writes of the smells that define home for her, the laundry involved, and the complications of making plans that aren’t derailed by calving cows, milking schedules, sick animals and equipment breakdowns.
The Alexanders are shifting their role in production agriculture to from dairy to crops. But their role in dairy industry is not over. Julie is also a first-term legislator in Michigan and is vice-chair of Agriculture in the house of Representatives, and strives to be an advocate for dairy farmers.