Roots in Boots: Callie Arneson Keeps on Trucking
Some girls grow up playing with Barbie dolls that cruise around the California coastline in Porsche convertibles or Ford Mustangs. Callie Arneson literally grew up in the milk truck with visions of lush green pastures and rolling Wisconsin pastures with dreams of marrying a man, who shares her passion for farming.
“As long as I can remember, I have always had an influence of milk hauling and farming,” says Callie, who has run her own milk route for the past five years. “My dad would take me along in the milk truck with him quite often from the time I was a little baby. I always had so much fun riding with him in the milk truck, so that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to start hauling milk as soon as I could.”
Callie said she’s always had a love for cows and would go into the barn and see as many calves as she could while her dad collected the milk. “The ‘cool’ farmers let me feed a calf or let me ride in the tractor with them,” she said.
Her passion for milking cows and feeding calves was fueled during Callie’s sophomore year in high school when she spent nearly an entire summer on one of her best friend’s family-owned dairy farm. During her senior year of high school, she obtained a CDL (commercial driver’s license) and a bulk sampler’s license the week she turned 18. She’s been an integral part of the trucking company her grandpa and his brother started after returning from the Korean War.
Like Callie, her father was brought up in Arneson Trucking. At age 12, he was washing milk trucks at the plant and learning how to repair them. Once he was old enough to drive, he parked a milk truck outside the high school. That way he was to work as soon as school dismissed for the day.
“Hauling milk is more than a job to me,” explains Callie. “I really enjoy talking to the farmers every day. Many of the families on our route have become like members of our own family. I’ve grown up with them, so many customers have been at my birthday parties. We get invited to their kids’ graduation parties and weddings. Oftentimes they send us home extra food from one of their get togethers or holiday celebrations.”
They say you won’t work a day in your life if you enjoy what you’re doing. It’s obvious Callie enjoys what she does because she didn’t mention the number of hours she worked until I asked her to help give me an idea of what it’s like to walk in her boots. Here’s what Callie’s typical day is like:
Help James Amera start milking. (Click here to learn more about this sixth-generation dairyman.)
Start the milk route. I pick up the four farms on my route by 9:45 AM and then head to the dairy. When I get to the dairy, they will unload the milk and then wash the inside of my truck.
1 to 3 PM
The time I get home depends on the day. One dairy I haul to is close to home but another dairy is two hours away. After I’m done with my milk route, I usually do some farm-related work. I might bed down calves, feed animals, work on bookwork or help with fieldwork before beginning evening milking.
I milk about four nights a week by myself. The other nights I help by switching groups and scraping the barn. I feed calves every night and every other morning. Calves are my specialty, so I focus on the calf care and feeding. If I see that a calf is sick or not acting as she normally would, I see that she gets the care she needs.
My favorite part of dairying are the animals. I have my “friends” that I make sure get scratched. Some of them nudge me if I’m not giving them attention. I love milking so much because I look forward to seeing the cows. Jerseys have such an attitude. They have mind of their own and are my favorites in the barn.
“My advice to girls interested in an agricultural career is that it’ll get tough. But it’s worth it in the end to be proud of what you do and what you have accomplished,” says Callie. “Some people will tear you down, so look to the people who build you up. My dad and mom deserve a shout-out for always being there to cheer me on. I don’t know what I would do without them!”
Without strong women to help shape and manage our company, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds would be a very different company than it is today. We understand the key roles women play in everything from purchasing seed to marketing grain, from public relations and event planning to sales and customer service. That’s why we’re celebrating women who are doing what they love. From now through November, we’re showcasing women in agriculture by telling their #RootsinBoots stories. Follow along and be inspired by Women in Ag across Latham Country!
We’re looking for women, ages 18 to 108, who have a passion for agriculture and are willing to share their farm stories. Simply post photos of yourself on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #RootsinBoots #LathamSeeds and #WomeninAg. Let your personality and work ethic show. We want to see what a “day in the life” of you is like!
Because each woman in agriculture is unique, everyone who submits a photo of herself either working in the field or working with livestock will be entered to win a $500 shopping spree at Western Edge LTD. There’s no limit to the number of entries, so increase your chances by posting across platforms via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Go to https://www.lathamseeds.com/rootsinboots/ or click here for more information.