What is a dairyman? If you look it up in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it simply says:one who operates a dairy farm or works in a dairy. I think that's a pretty simplistic description of what a dairyman is today. Dairymen are caretakers, milk makers, environmentalists, engineers, accountants, cultivators, employers and the list goes on...
Recently, while skimming through an article online, I noticed that the article's author kept including "(woman)" each time he wrote the word " dairyman". It was quite irritating to read "dairyman (woman)" over and over. I understand why he felt the need to do this due to certain social standards these days, but in my opinion it was not necessary.
I have worked in this industry for over seventeen years now and have the utmost respect for those that own and run a dairy farm. I've visited numerous farms and have witnessed what it takes to make a gallon of milk.
Many women across the U.S. rise each morning, along with their family, to milk and feed cows, collect data and care for calves - often after they have cooked breakfast, packed lunches and dropped kids off at school for the day.
In today's society, gender equality is a top social issue and I understand the need to make sure that women are recognized for their role in production agriculture. However when I write "dairyman" in a letter or article, it represents anyone that makes milk - man or woman. And, I have the feeling that the women I know on dairies in Georgia would agree.
Yes, I know that most women aren't as physically strong as their male counterparts. However, when given the proper tools and strength training, they can get the job done. They don't just sit back and let their husbands or family members do all of the work. Their passion for animals, their family and their farm drives them to be just as good of a dairyman as their counterparts. They drive silage trucks, rake hay, spread manure, nurture sick cows and clean the parlor with pride day after day.
Wherever production agriculture ends up in the future, there will likely be more women in the dairy industry. So let's embrace their role on the farm. Let's take pride in their commitment to feed the world and recognize them as what they really are - dairymen.