It’s all about the cows. - DFM
On the farm

It’s all about the cows.

Even when Lanna was young, her parents could tell her love for cows would last a lifetime.

To Lanna, growing up surrounded by cows and nature is all she can remember. Every cow had a name, a different personality, and markings that made each one unique. Susan was her favourite. Mrs. S. always stood in the corner. And they had a cow that liked to bunt and kick. She can’t remember her name but does remember always respecting her space.

Born in Winnipeg, Lanna grew up just east of the city in Lander, Manitoba on her parents’ modest dairy farm. With a dairy herd of just 12 cows, and her dad working off the farm most winters building power lines in the Northwest Territories, her mom ran everything on her own when he was gone. Lanna remembers her mom being pretty hands on with the cows, and that’s likely where she got it from.

I don’t even know what time mom would get up in the morning. She went out, had the cows milked, and was back inside making us breakfast and lunch, getting us ready for school every morning.

Her mom could often be found in the field raking hay, always on the rake tractor. As the youngest of six children, Lanna didn’t do as much field work as her siblings. It wasn’t until she was a little older that her dad had her out on the mower. He tried putting her on the rake tractor once, but she decided that her real passion was caring for and working with the cows.

Today, Lanna and her husband run their own dairy farm with a little help and patience from their children. And not unlike Lanna’s childhood, her kids learned from an early age that caring for the cows always comes first. “They need us to look after them—and sometimes we’re not going to be able to attend an event or go somewhere because the cows need to be taken care of,” Lanna explains.

The goal, like any parent, was to teach their children about the responsibility of looking after things, to do your chores, and to always help out—as the lessons kids learn on a dairy farm can last a lifetime. From the beginning, kids are taught that the cows are here for a reason. Always respect them. Treat them well because the cows are here for you.

I probably have more pictures of cows than I do of my kids.

On their farm, almost everything in their barn was built for cow comfort. Automated feeders and water systems mean cows can eat when they want and drink when they want. The automated milking system lets the cows get milked when they want. Cow brushes let the cows to get groomed whenever they like. And automated climate control systems keep the cows cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Lanna and her family love what they do. As she says, “It can be a lot of fun if you make it fun”—and if you ask Ethel, Nelly, Minion, Halo, Velina, Ms. Mason, and any one of their cows, they’ll probably agree that they love what Lanna and her family do too.

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