Rural Missouri - May 2017 - 25
Above left:While Jodi milks the cows, Larry shows her a photo of another farmer's cow that was found dead in an uncovered well, one of the hazards on old farmsteads. Above right: Although
it's a mess at the moment, the couple is happy for the rain which has fallen recently. Spring rains will help the Wrights get a good ﬁrst and second cutting of hay, which will help keeps costs down.
Larry, Lora, Blake and Jodi Wright are the owners
of Wrightvale Farm, a small registered Holstein
dairy farm in Verona.
photo courtesy of Larry and Jodi Wright
"So, no, if we had to live on what we make milking our 60 cows, we'd likely go
hungry," Larry says, "But we enjoy the rest of what we do, so we keep going."
The "rest of" what they do is strive to raise a better Holstein cow through
reﬁned genetic breeding. Through the years, the couple has studied the stock
and bred their best cattle to develop a line which has given them a chance to
sell top-quality cattle across the nation and internationally. The Wrights sell
embryos as well as cattle, and recently had their ﬁrst heifer born from in vitro
fertilization, something they also hope to do more of in the future.
Because the work never seems to end, farmers rarely get a chance to network. Sometimes a wave of greeting as they pass in a pickup on the gravel road
might be all they have the time to share. So, ﬁnding time for fellowship with
others after long days of work on the farm are moments everyone needs.
Women on the farm especially ﬁnd themselves feeling cut off from the world
if they don't purposely visit with other women who live similar lifestyles.
"A couple of years ago, we had a good friend of ours in dairy farming commit
suicide," Jodi says. "A group of us talked about the need to connect as women
- to not be on the farm all the time, and to have an outlet besides our cows and
family. That rekindled a group that had been dormant for quite a while."
Jodi says that group, MU Extension Women in Dairy, now meets monthly in
Mount Vernon and Mountain Grove, with the two groups joining together for one
larger event each January. Reagan Bluel, an Extension dairy specialist, leads
the group, with the goal of offering emotional, social and educational support to
women in the industry.
"We have everyone from young mothers with babies who attend to retired
farm wives who no longer milk cows but want to visit with everyone. You really
don't even need to live on a dairy farm. The group's open to any woman who
wants to attend and just may need a break," says Jodi. "It's a great way to meet
women who most likely face similar situations."
A sign hanging in the Wrights dining room reads, "Faith
makes all things possible - not easy," an afﬁrmation
which Jodi takes to heart.
"Sure, there are days you wonder why you're doing
all this work," says Jodi. "Then you think about your
family, the cattle, what you've accomplished, and you
remember why you do it - because you love it all."
You may contact the Wrights at firstname.lastname@example.org or
by calling 417-743-2921. To learn more about the MU
Extension Women in Dairy program, contact Regan
Bluel at Bluelrj@missouri.edu or call 417-847-3161.
MAY 2017 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP