Family Members: Dave and Pat Weller, 1st generation. Dennis Weller, 2nd generation. Shawna Weller & Jonathan Weller, 3rd generation.
Number of Milking Cows: ~60
"I absolutely love what I do and, even on the worst of days, I would not trade what I do. I love caring for the land and animals and, because of that, I help get one of nature’s most wholesome and nutritious products to consumers - milk! "- Shawna Weller
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A DAIRY FARMER?
My family inspired me to become a dairy farmer. Growing up on the farm and surrounded by incredible family members, I was taught so many valuable life lessons. I have always had this inkling inside to want to keep our farm in our family, to keep traditions alive, and to be a caretaker of the land and animals. I watched my grandma care for the calves, my grandpa spent countless hours in the fields, and my dad run the milking barn. All three of them have impacted me and who I am today, and so each of them inspired me to want to continue our family's heritage.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOUR COWS STAY COMFORTABLE?
I make sure that our cows and calves stay comfortable by ensuring that they have ample space and clean bedding at all times. They also have the ability to roam around. Our cows are in a tie stall robotic barn, so they choose when they eat, sleep, and get milked.
WHAT MAKES YOU GOOD STEWARDS OF THE LAND?
I care for the land because it is on loan to me from my future generations. Therefore, we use best management practices to ensure that it is there for those yet to come. Some of these best management practices include crop rotation, to make sure that we are not using all of a particular nutrient in the soil. We have buffers near our streams, to make sure that we are not polluting the water that our family and animals drink and we no-till to prevent soil erosion.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COW’S NAME AND WHAT MAKES HER SO SPECIAL?
My favorite cow's name is Lil Miracle. She was the first calf that I delivered on my own. The vet had told us to anticipate the calf being stillborn, but she was very much alive! That is why she is my Lil Miracle.
I think that if my cows could talk, they would say that I spoil them. I treat them as if they are my kids because, let’s face it, they basically are. At 23 years old, I do not have kids of my own, so I spoil my cows. They get lots of loving and attention each and every time I walk into the barn. They each have their own unique name and I hold lots of great conversations with them.
Questions answered by Shawna Weller.