Should they double down and leverage more of their assets to keep going? Should they disperse the dairy and transition to crops or beef cattle? Should they sell everything and move to another career? Dairy farmers today are being forced to make these difficult decisions. It was not that long ago when I had to make these same decisions.
Every farmer needs to evaluate their own unique situation to make the proper decision on what is best for them. However, what is actually available for retired dairy farmers? One thing that is well known is that dairy farmers are some of the hardest-working people around. That gives them an opportunity to find another job.
What formal and informal education a retired dairy farmer has can determine what is available to them. There is a shortage of truck drivers and many technical jobs. Nutritionists and equipment sales people are always needed. Many of these positions require no formal education and the experiences that farmers already have may be enough to be hired. Many farmers have extensive experience in welding or carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. These experiences have them poised to enter these industries, either working for another company or starting their own business.
If they have a college degree, the opportunities are nearly endless. From teachers to lab technicians and even Extension agents, many companies are looking for people with practical experience to go along with the degree. There are also many opportunities to return to school to obtain a master’s degree or even a veterinary degree.
While difficult times exist, there are also many opportunities available. Remember, even though it may seem like the end of something that you have worked hard for, it may just be the beginning of something new, something exciting that you did not ever consider before. Retired dairy farmers’ talents are needed everywhere.
Jeremy Daubert is a Virginia Cooperative Extension dairy agent based in Rockingham County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Jeremy Daubert
Source: Lancaster Farming