We were curious, so we asked! What’s it really like to be a Dairy Farmer- Dietitian? Who’s the most fun to work with? Cynthia Adam of Knollbrook Farms and Sarah Kuehnert of Kuehnert Dairy Farm work daily alongside their families on the farm and are also employed as Registered Dietitians in their local hospitals. (Talk about dedicating your life to food!) They were kind enough to answer even our silliest questions.
Most fun to work with, cows or people?
Cynthia: Haha, it depends on the day. You have your favorites. Today I’m leaning towards the cows.
Sarah: One thing I love about cows, they listen! No back-talking!
One food you can’t live without?
Sarah: MILK, its essential! My husband and kids would tell you the same!
Low Fat or Low Carb?
Cynthia: This really depends on the client’s health concerns and their diagnosis, so I would make recommendations and give guidance based on their needs.
Sarah: Everything in moderation is my motto. Nutrition is not low fat. It’s not low calorie. It’s not being hungry and feeling deprived. It’s nourishing your body with real, whole foods so that you are consistently satisfied and energized to live life to the fullest. FOOD IS FUEL!
Best thing about being a dairy farmer?
Sarah: My favorite thing about being a dairy farmer is the opportunity to live life to the fullest with my family each and every day. The countless hours we, as four generations, spend together on a daily basis taking care of our cows is priceless. Farm life gives you the opportunity to witness blood, tears, sweat, smiles, laughter, lessons, responsibility, faith, and memories with those I hold most dear. And of course, I think the dairy cow is one of the most amazing and beautiful creatures ever made.
Cynthia: The opportunity to spend time with our family, taking care of the cows and all the other farm critters.
Why be a Registered Dietitian?
Cynthia: I love the flexibility of the job and developing relationships with people. You have the potential to make a lasting effect on someone’s life.
Sarah: The opportunity to help others. Whether I am educating children or adults about food choices or ensuring adequate nutrition to someone who is critically ill, I get to see the positive impact that nutrition has on the human body.
Similarities between jobs?
Cynthia: Yes. Both jobs have a nurturing component to them.
Sarah: Most definitely! This is where my passion grows. I hope that I am making a difference in my community by tying the knot between production agriculture and food and nutrition. Without the farmer, where would food come from?
What’s your typical day look like?
Sarah: I am a mother, wife, Registered Dietitian and dairy farmer, so no day is ever the same! Of course, the cows have to be fed, milked and cared for each and every day, but the hours in-between daily chores are never the same. I work part-time as a Registered Dietitian at Adams Memorial Hospital, so 2-3 days a week I am there seeing inpatients, educating outpatients, implementing wellness initiatives for employees, writing policies and procedures, overseeing the foodservice production. I also handle the marketing responsibilities of Kuehnert Dairy Farm, so scheduling field trips and tours, updating our website, social media, printed materials, planning our Annual Fall Festival. Mowing, planting flowers, gardening, cooking meals, washing clothes, helping with homework, basketball and baseball games, musicals and plays, teach Sunday School, 4-H activities. I honestly never know exactly what my day will bring or which hats I will be wearing!
Cynthia: A typical day changes by the season. There are always early morning farm chores including feeding the small calves. We have robots on our farm that help make milking times more flexible for our cows and our family. Then it’s off to work at Goshen Hospital. After a full day there I’m back home to do evening chores, cook supper and maybe get some accounting done for the farm before bedtime.
Words of Wisdom?
Sarah: If you have agriculture questions, ask a farmer. Go visit farms, see where your food comes from. If you have nutrition questions, ask a Registered Dietitian. They are the nutrition experts.