She is a daughter. She is a wife. She is passionate about agriculture and the dairy industry. She is a selfless volunteer. She wears many hats. She is my mom. Her name is Gail Yeiser, and she is loved to the moon and back.
Growing up, Mom would look forward to her routine visits to her grandparents’ dairy farms. These visits are where her passion for agriculture began.
That’s me, Amy Yeiser Leslie, when I was around 5 years old, being held by Mom. Next to her is my dad, Rusty Yeiser, with my sister Emily Yeiser Stepp holding Spot, her first 4-H lease calf.
From a young age, Mom instilled in us a similar passion for the dairy industry that has driven us in our adult lives. While making sure we got to every Friday night 4-H club meeting and summer evening dairy judging practice, Mom was a tireless volunteer 4-H club leader as well as an active member on various Boards of Directors for dairy and ag industries throughout the state of Maryland. She did all of this while excelling in her full-time role in Alumni Relations at the University of Maryland in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. You could always find ‘The Gail’ at any agriculture or dairy function around the state either as an employee, volunteer, mom or many times, all three at once.
Without Mom’s influence in our lives, we would never be a part of the dairy industry today. Emily and I are proud to work on behalf of dairy farmers and are grateful to continue to be active members of the dairy community. The love of this industry that was started by Mom has only grown and flourished, with her support at every crossroads.
Emily is already getting to experience passing along this passion to her daughter, 3-month old Devon Elizabeth. It's hard to tell who's more comfortable resting, Devon or the cows on their soft, dry bedding.
As you can see, from my baby shower photo with my sister and Devon, and my mom, soon it will be my turn. As Emily and I begin our journey into motherhood, we are both anxious to share our love of the dairy cow and the values we learned from growing up as part of the dairy industry with our children, much like Mom did with us. And we know she will be there to help us every step of the way, as she always has, now adding Grandma to her extensive list of roles.
Top 5 lessons I want my child to learn about life on a dairy farm:
- Nutrient-rich milk and dairy products are good for you—get at least 3 servings every day.
- Respect of farmers for providing food for all to enjoy.
- Care for animals and they will care for you.
- Patience—sometimes there are things out of your control. Take a deep breath and look for the next best option.
- Hard work—put in the time needed to learn and excel at new things.
At home, on the farm, in the community… thank you for all you do!
In tribute to my mom and all dairy farmer and industry moms, thank you for encouraging and supporting the next generation of dairy enthusiasts. Whether that is the next generation of dairy farmers, dairy industry leaders, or simply milk drinkers and dairy industry supporters, your passion is evident and contagious—in the best way possible.
American Dairy Association North East is one of 19 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.