An Unlikely Love Affair – with Dairy

Jill and her new-found love, dairy cows!
Jill and her new-found love, dairy cows!

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, Indiana dairy farmer Jill Houin shares her unlikely love affair with the farm – and how it all started with a boy…

Walking up the stairs at Purdue, to my new apartment, I had no idea my life would change forever.  I met a boy.  He was cute, kind, studying meteorology, bilingual, and a hard worker.  We fell in love!  I was studying teaching and I looked forward to a future living anywhere with my bilingual meteorologist husband but right before the wedding, he said he would like to work back on the family dairy farm.  Yep, he was going to bring this city girl to the dairy farm and I was in for a culture shock!!

As time passed, I did not adjust quickly to dairy farmer wife life.  It took me a long time to understand that if there was a problem at the farm, he was going to be late for dinner.  If there was a worker that needed help outside of the working hours, my husband needed to go help.  When there was a windy night and calf hutches were blown, he was going to chase calves at 2 am to get them to safety. There was a lot to take in from the new country life I had married into.  I watched him put in long hours and I just did not see why.

But one day, I got to hear my husband speak about dairy to a group of other dairymen and I was roady.  I starting understanding the passion he had for the family farm and the animals that produce wholesome nutritious food for the entire world.  I finally understood the long hours, the smelly clothes, and the hard work he was putting in was the love for the animals.  This was a life style not just a job.  I wanted to see more!  So on our anniversary, we went to our normal dinner place and on our way back we passed the calves.  I asked to stop and see the animals.  My husband was shocked and chuckled to himself, knowing that I was turning a little more country. Sitting in our nice clothes in the calf barn made me realize the importance of what he does as a farmer and helped me love the farm and him more.  I started going to the calf barn more and more.  Just checking it out and learning the ins and outs of raising these amazing animals.  It is hard work but I love it.

Now, this city girl raises the calves and helps educate consumers, like I am and was, about the hard work that farmers put in EVERY day to put nutrient rich food on the table.  I want people to understand what and why farmers do because I did not understand any of this.  My passion is for the animals.  My passion is for our family farm. My passion is for education of dairy farming.   I married into this life as a farmer’s wife with slight worry for the different life style, but I would never want it any other way!  I LOVE MY FARMER and I LOVE DAIRY!!