School’s Out Now but “Life-Long Lessons” Still in Session
Last Friday on TheFieldPosition.com, we shared how Andrew and Jennifer Holle spent their senior year of college planning to fulfill their dream of returning to his family’s dairy. As new college graduates and as newlyweds, they purchased Northern Lights Dairy in 2003. Jennifer shared how she climbed the ladder of responsibility until finding her niche as the calf manager.
Like their mother, the four Holle children are working their way up the ladder of responsibility.
“We are all so excited now that school’s out for the summer!” says Jennifer enthusiastically. “I LOVE having my kids home because summer is a time where we work hard as a family but we also play hard. Each morning we start in the calf barn where they help: re-bed the stalls with straw, fill up the waterers, get baby calves up and put them in the auto-feeder, feed calf crunch, clean, and whatever else is needed. Then we head to the office where I do all my computer work and they either mow the lawn, clean the office area, pick-up the yard, or other tasks. From there, it depends on the day. Sometimes we sort heifers on 4-wheelers or on horseback, run into town for parts, or take the semi-truck to get a load of feedstuffs. They really do everything we do on the farm.”
Northern Lights Dairy is truly a family farm. Andrew is the General Manager. Jennifer says, “My husband multi-tasks so many different aspects of the farm that it blows my mind! My father-in-law, Kenton, lot of the truck driving and feed hauling. He also travels frequently for various boards like National Dairy Board and the Mid-West Dairy Association.”
Jennifer shares her father-in-law’s passion for promoting dairy. She serves on American Dairy Association District 3 Dairy and Promotions Board. She also is Board Director of the North Dakota Dairy Coalition.
“I want consumers to understand that dairying is something we live and breathe, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is what we were born to do,” she explains passionately. “Farmers were made to take care of God animals, the environment, the planet, and the people around us. We care about each and every animal on our farm. We care about each acre that we farm. We care about everything we touch. We understand the level of responsibility we have. There are 1,200 animals depending on us to feed, care, and nurture them each and every day.
Our mission statement is, ‘Northern Lights Dairy is an efficient, innovative, and profitable family dairy business always producing the highest quality milk.’ To produce the highest quality milk, we must take the best possible care of our cows. Every decision we make is always based around the cows.
If it’s 2 a.m. and we see a cow needs help giving birth, we go. If it’s minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit and we’re so cold that we feel our body, we have to bed the heifers with fresh straw so they are warm. If there is a pre-mature calf struggling to breathe, we go sit with them and in any way we can. If hay is ready to be baled but we have a prior commitment, we go make hay. This is not just a job, this is how we live.”
Because of her involvement in the industry and in promoting dairy products, Jennifer was named Midwest Dairy Farm Mom, 2014 Northwest Farm Mom of the Year by “America’s Farmers” and the 2014 Farm and Ranch Guide Country Woman of the Year. Also in 2014, she was name the ND State Soccer Association Recreational Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.
Extracurricular activities continue even though the kids Holle kids a break from school in the summer. They’re active in sports, church, 4-H, scouts and rodeos. Jennifer, who played soccer in college, coaches all of her kids’ teams. She also plays on a soccer team and is an avid runner. She enjoys being a part of Team Dairy, a group of dairy enthusiasts from across Midwest Dairy Association’s 10 states who enjoy running. Jennifer’s family members also love to run, so they often meet up in various cities to complete races together. Last fall they met in Washington, D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon. (Click here to read Jennifer’s blog about that experience.) She enjoys traveling, too.
“God made an amazing, beautiful world and I love to see and experience it! I live life to the fullest extent. When I get up to heaven I want to be flying in at 100 mph, burning rubber, and say, ‘Wow… what a ride!” So go out there and have a great ride. Leave a legacy that you are proud of. Make a difference, for you were created to be great. Go be GREAT!”
Make it a great summer! You can celebrate June dairy month by downloading one of the Holle family’s favorite recipes from TheFieldPosition.com. Plus, the newly published Dairy Good Cookbook also features 100+ recipes inspired by America’s dairy farmers including the Holle’s.