Cupid’s arrow solidified its mark on Courtney Luskin and Duncan Bailey one Sunday afternoon in February 2018. Duncan was working on the dairy farm where he grew up, in Fillmore, New York. “While they no longer milk cows, we still raise heifers there – those are dairy cows that haven’t had a calf yet,” explains Courtney. One heifer in particular, an Ayrshire, has a special place in their hearts.
Courtney remembers when she first laid eyes on Diamond. “A new calf had arrived. Her name needed to start with the letter ‘D’” says Courtney. While Duncan was doing chores at the barn, he asked Courtney to suggest names. She listed off 50. Duncan said “no” to each. He then proposed a name of his own. “’What about Diamond?’ he asked, and I actually responded ‘No, that’s stupid.’ And he asked about that name again, only this time getting down on one knee and proposing with the real ring."
Courtney and Duncan met through the Dairy Club at SUNY Morrisville, where she studied agricultural business. “His hard work and sense of humor caught my attention,” says Courtney. They had a lot in common. Courtney grew up milking cows and doing chores on her family’s dairy farm in Valley Falls, New York. She advocated for the dairy industry through the Rensselaer County dairy princess program and in 2013 won the coveted title, New York State Dairy Princess.
“Our relationship started because of our shared interest in dairy and dairy plays a strong role in our relationship today,” says Courtney.
Courtney said “yes” to naming the calf “Diamond,” and to Duncan and the ring. The couple got married in June 2019. Duncan works in the dairy industry as a genetic consultant. Courtney works full-time as an Ag Lender, helping Duncan on the weekend with chores and farm work. “I love feeding calves.”
Diamond has been busy, too. The couple brings her along for their favorite hobby — cow showing. "It’s very special to us that we get to take her with us. We alternate who gets to show her,” says Courtney.
The Baileys spend time throughout the year preparing their cows for local, state and national shows. “Most of our vacation is spent going to cow shows including World Dairy Expo each fall. We love to exhibit our animals, but it also allows us to connect with consumers and educate them about the dairy industry.” Aside from the shows, Courtney says every trip or vacation they take usually includes cows, “We love to travel and see diverse dairy operations. We recently toured farms in Texas and New Mexico.”
Their shared passion for the dairy industry brought them together. Now the Baileys are dreaming of building a future around it. “We hope someday to have our own farm and hopefully be able to milk some cows of our own,” says Courtney. “We own numerous cows together and continue to grow our herd.” The Baileys may be getting another addition to their herd soon. Diamond, now two years old, is due to have her first calf this year.
Looks like the Baileys will need to come up with another list of “D” names.
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 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.