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HERd Management: An adventure of a lifetime: The Emerald Isle

Deanna Lanier for Progressive Dairyman Published on 29 December 2016

We all know how busy dairy life can be – whether it is harvest, haying, spraying or just milking – and we often do not get to take a break from working those 365 days.

At least not on our small farm, where there is only my dad and me doing all the milkings anyway. However, this past winter, after some life happenings, I decided to take matters into my own hands and convinced my husband, after six years of telling me no, to agree to traveling abroad.

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It was our best decision this year.

We took eight days off to travel from Kansas to Ireland with an almost-2-year-old and with me being five months pregnant with our second child to make a dream come true.

I have always wanted to go abroad, and many asked, “Why Ireland?” Well, I heard it was beautiful, they love agriculture, and I have a little fiery Irish in me, so why not?

Hands-down, best trip of my life so far. Don’t get me wrong; the first day, I cried (thanks, pregnancy hormones). They like to drive manual cars there – no big deal to a farm kid, bring that one on. It was the driving on the left side, staying on that side and not having very good directions.

As the week went on, we became pros. Thank goodness. We did a self-guided tour of the republic of Ireland. We started in Dublin and felt like we drove down and around the coastline to the other side of the country and made our way back to Dublin to fly back home by the end of week.

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In that week, we saw so many different, yet similar, agricultural aspects; it was thrilling. Even though we did not stop at any farms or do any ag tours, we enjoyed the scenery very much.

There were many dairy farms along the roadways. We saw tractors that drove down roads like national highways.

The equipment was all a lot smaller than the big combines and such you see in North America, but just as many horsepower, if not more, packed into those little tractors and implements.

We saw cars, literally little cars, and SUVs that pulled their livestock trailers. We saw hardly any farm trucks like you see in North America. Cows and sheep were spread among the rolling hills, grazing along the rock walls that fenced them.

There were wheat and barley fields, and every direction you turned, it was green. We were told by one of the locals it is green all year, hence the name the Emerald Isle. The weather was fantastic, too.

While it was in the 30ºC-range in Kansas, we were enjoying the cloudy cool upper teens. We could have moved there, as my husband loves the cooler weather and I love the idea of green year-round.

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We loved trying new foods, meeting new people and learning about another culture. We did some great tours, such as touring Waterford Crystal and many castles.

It was interesting to use another currency, and we made sure to go into a local grocery store to compare it to one we have at home; that was a neat experience.

We really enjoyed that they walk most places there, and everyone seemed to be very content and happy, almost carefree. Most everyone was very friendly and helped us if we were lost.

I like to wear a Fitbit, and by the time we landed at home, we had walked over 50 miles during our traveling adventures.

It was definitely an eye-opening experience and one that will lead to other adventures, not only to see how others are established in agriculture but how their lifestyles compare to ours back home.

It is always great to diversify yourself, whether it be traveling or doing something new back home. I plan on writing up some of our story of traveling and a photo-blog of our adventures if you would like to see photos from our trip (themilkmaidtimes.blogspot.com).

Every once in a while, it is great to step out of your comfort zone and do something for yourself. While I care deeply for our cows and try to give them my everything, sometimes you need a little return for yourself.

This was the best choice for us, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Plus, my husband said it wasn’t that bad, that he really enjoyed it and asked where we are going to travel to next. I’m thinking somewhere starting with an A?  end mark

Deanna Lanier
  • Deanna Lanier

  • Dairy Producer
  • Valley Center, Kansas

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