Canadian Grain, turned American Dairy.
Charlene Kuipers grew up on a grain farm in Dugald, Manitoba with the only ‘livestock’ being any number of cats and a dog. Her first experience with cattle was on a small dairy farm down the road from her parents, where she worked for the summer before college.
Charlene spent her college summer years working an internship through as a crop scout for Cargill …. which was much less stinky and dirty than the dairy farm. The switch back and forth between grain and dairy was beginning to form a pattern until she met her husband Cory, at Dordt College, Iowa and became a dairy farmer’s wife. Since then her job titles include the following: calf feeder, parts runner, meal maker, tractor rider, laundry expert, master flyswatter, garden grower, cow/calf supervisor, business manager and, last but not least, poop wiper to their very active son, Weston. Currently, she is the office manager of Kuipers Cattle Company, as the dairy family moves into raising Angus cattle.
This brave girl gave up her prairie home in Canada to move towards the western USA mountains — all in the name of love. This is a DRASTIC change of landscape and agriculture lifestyle shift. She went from being able to watch her dog run away for three days to living near a wall of mountains. Her current home in Skagit Valley has a mix of flat land and she is thankful for this little piece of home. She can’t tell you how many times she’s thought “Mountains! Get out of the way, I can’t see anything!” But 5 minutes later thought, “Wow, how incredible are those mountains?”
Charlene deeply appreciates the sense of community that comes with farming; no matter where people are from everyone understands that farming is a lifestyle. Everyone understands that there are good years and there are bad years. Everyone understands that sometimes you eat in the field and not at the table. Everyone understands that you work from sun up to sun down. Everyone understands that being a farmer and a farming family is hard. Everyone understands why you can’t always make it to church on Sunday. Everyone understands the fear in the phrase: “the cows are out”. And everyone understands the sacrifice that comes with a farming lifestyle.
She wouldn’t have it any other way.
Charlene, we admire the brave life you have chosen and you live it well. You obviously love the story you have been given and are dedicated to your people and your industry. Thank you for all the roles you juggle to keep your farmer a successful one!