Dairy farmers. They are active members of their local community. They help support the economy and create an estimated 900,000 jobs in the United States alone! Most importantly, dairy farmers are dedicated to producing nutritious, tasty milk and dairy foods for all to enjoy. But beyond dairy farming, dairy farmers are like you and me. They are devoted to their family. They have pie-in-the-sky dreams. They pursue their goals and take up hobbies. And when life throws curveballs, they deal with them in stride.

Here are the ABCs of some of our nearly 9,000 dairy farm families we had the pleasure of featuring this year, in our “This American Dairy Farmer” video series.

Against all odds.

Trisha Knight Boyce

Trisha Knight Boyce details a relocation from Pennsylvania to Easton, Maryland. This dairy farmer battled adversity and had to learn to walk again – all in the same year as becoming a new mother. What got her through it all?

Bright futures in motion.

Jayden Neal

Jayden Neal is a student at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, majoring in robotics and manufacturing. He’s invented many gadgets that have helped streamline operations on his family’s farm in Albion, New York, and even has a patent for one!

Katarina Coffman

At Penn State University, Katarina Coffman is studying animal science and agri-business management. Along with taking a full schedule of classes, she works at Penn State’s Dairy Barns, where she milks cows and immerses herself in research that’s going on around her.

Cows and family. Family and cows.

Jake Palladino

Dairy farmer Jake Palladino strives to provide the best care to the cows and the people that he manages every day. He’s come a long way since he was just a boy doing odd jobs at the Lansing, New York farm. He says his four older sisters played a role in helping him prepare for his career.

Dream chasers.

Lucas Schonfeld

In training for a triathlon, says dairy farmer Lucas Schonfeld, nutrition is a key to his training and success. It’s not unlike caring for his cows. A team of nutritionists at the farm in Aurora, New York, are focused on providing the essential nutrients that his cows need to produce quality milk.

Matt Brake

After a devastating fire, dairy farmer Matt Brake and his family decided to rebuild their barn in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Their new barn is filled with robotics that increase efficiency and cow comfort. Having this robotic technology allows Matt to pursue another passion: piloting small planes!

Entrepreneurial spirits.

The Painter Sisters

Dairy farmers, sisters Stephanie and Hayley Painter, are using their enterprising spirit and smiles to make a popular dairy product. Their organic Icelandic-style Skyr yogurt brand launched in March and is made with the premium milk produced at their family farm in Westfield, Pennsylvania.

Jennifer Mapes

Dairy farmer Jennifer Mapes of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, a Penn State alumna, is seeing her high school scholarship essay come to life. She started a business last year, processing milk and selling her Mapes Farm Fresh brand at her own store and to other retail partners.

Forging ahead, sustainably.

Natasha Stein Sutherland

Natasha Stein Sutherland recounts childhood in LeRoy, New York, at the dairy farm started by her grandfather in 1956. Two cows that came with the property. Fast forward, Natasha now tends to her dairy herd while also looking after the pristine blue-ribbon trout stream that runs alongside the farm.

Chris and Sarah Ficken

Sarah and Chris Ficken own and operate their dairy farm in Munnsville, N.Y. They believe “Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.” Due to their sustainable farming practices, their farm has achieved carbon neutrality!

Get to know more of our dairy farmers by watching additional seasons of  This American Dairy Farmer.