From the Farm: Dairy production employees really make a difference

For years and years I complained about having to bale hay in the blasted heat of summer.

This was all worth the space it took up in my column over the years because I was miserable.

It really was the hottest, calmest, stickiest day when the hay would be ready for baling.

In fact, I think I even wrote a column about having access to a five-gallon pail of warm water that I would stick my entire head in to cool off.

Well, last week I was reliving that feeling, but in a much different environment and I could not help but relive the days of sweating like a cool glass of Diet Coke on a 80 percent humidity day.

Steve and I were included in a group made up of Associated Milk Producer Inc. Members that were able to tour the production facility in Rochester, MN.

I also couldn’t help but feel a ton of gratitude to all those employees of those facilities that were just doing their job and seemed to enjoy every bit of it.

The AMPI Plant in Rochester shares a building with Kemps’ milk bottling plant, so I was able to see how all those tiny little milk jugs sold at McDonald’s get filled. Although they were not running that day, I did get the concept.

After the Kemps’ tour, our group was taken through the Rochester AMPI plant that has a focus on making cheese.

What I noticed as I walked through the plant was just how friendly every single employee was smiling. Now, maybe they were told to smile. Or maybe, they really enjoy their jobs.

I’m going to go with the latter.

Some areas of that cheese production facility didn’t lend themselves to singing a happy-go-lucky song.

While on the tour we stopped in several areas of the plant that reminded me of that sweating Diet Coke I mentioned earlier. Other areas reminded me of being outside on a frigid January morning; shoveling snow away from the barn entrances at five in the morning.

Going through temperature fluctuations of that nature several times during that tour, made me REALLY appreciate what those employees do for all the members of the AMPI cooperative.

They go to work every single day of the year.

Because, as dairy farmers who cannot shut off the milk production of our cows – although many jokes fly around about that very concept – these dedicated employees have to work seven days a week.

And the same holds true for every person employed by any dairy cooperative.

I don’t know if they receive the thanks and recognition they deserve from the dairy producers from all over the United States.

So I am taking this opportunity to give them all the appreciation they deserve.

Without employees willing to work the same type of hours we are, it would be difficult to be a dairy farmer.

Where would our milk go? Let’s face it, without these people, each and every person in America would have to have one or two cows in their back yard and every single day someone would have to milk Bessie – twice a day!

And you thought getting Jr. To feed the dog was difficult!

So hats off and hands clapping to every single person that works in a dairy production facility, without you, all the children in America would be arguing about whose turn it is to milk the cow.

I know this dairy farmer appreciates everything you do and I am sure dairy farmers every where know of the importance you play to the success of our operations.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel .net.

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