Sharing her story with us today is Jenna Jongenotter from Foxboro, Ontario, Canada. Jenna is proud to say she was born and raised on their family dairy farm in a small town of Foxboro. It was here she experienced her first love, her first loss, her first kiss, her first unconditional love- all to Holsteins! Following high school, Jenna pursued Business Administration at the local college. In 2013, her family decided to switch from a tie-in facility to robots. Since then, Jenna has been a full-time relief milker for neighboring (and some not-so-close) farms while coming home between chores to tend to her girls. She jokes, that she wasn’t ready to give up milking!!
Jenna’s Story in her own words:
Describe a typical/average day for you.
A day in the life of Jenna begins at 3am. Yes- 3 am! I love my food, so, breakfast sometimes takes a while to eat, on the road at 4am to be in the barn at 4:30. Chores typically wrap up around 7:30, and then home for COFFEE and of course, some food! Calves, late cows, herd management, feeding etc. take up the morning while spending the afternoon tending to chores in the other barns or field work. My clock says its 5 so I start my evening chores before heading off to the next farm for evening milking! My day may never entail sitting on the couch, having my nails done, or going to town- but I couldn’t be happier with my life, and my lifestyle!
When did you start farming?
From the time I could hold my own, I was outside taking it all in- the noise, tractors, cows, people, and the hustle and bustle of everything! Being the youngest, my chores began with calf feeding. I couldn’t be more proud of having such a big chore at such a young age- this is the start of my first love. Fast forward a few years, I was able to sweet talk my way into getting two jerseys! They were mine to feed and milk (to say the lease, no one wanted to milk the Jerseys, so that job waited every morning and night for me). Fast forward many years, here I am working for numerous farmers providing them with the same passion and commitment I’ve dedicated to my own family farm.
Who is your favorite cow?
Born and raised into the Holstein world! Although, a few farms are converting me to Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn- Shhhhhh, my family doesn’t know this yet!
What are 3 things you want consumers to know about the dairy industry and/or the products you produce?
- We, as dairy producers buy the same products off the same shelves as the public!
- We spend many sleepless nights in the barn raising and caring for the animals, therefore, under no circumstance do we not feel the loss of an animal! We care for the well-being of the cattle born and raised on our farm
- Farmers feed cities!
As a millennial what do you want to share with others about the dairy industry?
Please don’t assume we are bad people! We love to answer the publics question regarding the agriculture industry, if you have a concern- talk to a farmer. We would love to educate you on the industry and walk around our farm with you. I have my work attire- where I look like a farmer. Then my dress up attire and make up where I look like I’m 100% straight from the city! Surprisingly, it helps engage with the public because people see me as “one of them”. I can connect, and share insightful information without then even knowing what I do for a living!
What is your favorite dairy product?
Dairy- yum! But choose just one favorite product? I enjoy it all- from butter to cheese to ice cream to just a nice cold glass of milk! I take pride in the quality of product I put in the tank and savor each and every product!
What is the most rewarding part of production agriculture?
So many rewarding parts within the dairy industry like seeing a calf grow up to become this beautiful heifer. Animals teach us so much about ourselves; they show us things that we never thought we could do (even when it comes to our own strength). When I get up, it’s up to me to choose my attitude for the day. But when I get up and go to the barn, I see the fruit of my labor and couldn’t be more proud of my work, and aspire to achieve more every day. I’ll always have things to improve, but I’ll never let myself to stop learning!
What do you envision the future of the dairy industry looking like?
How I envision the dairy future is a hard one to answer as the world’s largest trade agreement was just signed! Coming from Canada where we have the Quota system, I would love to say that the small family ran farm communities would continue for generations to come.
Jenna, thank you for sharing your story with us!
Entire Women in Dairy Series:
- Joanna Lidback of The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, VT
- Katie Boyke Grinstead of Vir-Clar Farm, WI
- Alicia Lamb of Oakfield Corners Dairy, NY
- Ysabel Jacobs of Ferme Jacobs, Canada
- Heidi Kovacs of Sugar Maple Jerseys, NJ
- Jolene Griffin, MI
- Melissa Woolpert of Country by Chance, VT
- Katie Sattazahn, PA
- Kim Bremmer of Ag Inspirations, WI
- Abigail Copenhaver of Farmstead Nutrition, NY
- Jodi Cast of JJC Jerseys, NE
- Amy Rowbottom of Crooked Farm Creamery, ME
- Britte Nooijens, Netherlands
- Julianne Holler, PA
- Cynthia Martel, VA
- Abby Swan of Kemridge Farm, WI
- Jamie Van De Walle, WI
- Joseta Halbur, WI
- Holly Smith, WI
- Jenny L. Baerwolf of Sassy Cow Creamery, WI
- Jenna Jongenotter, Canada
- Liz Neadow of Teacup Farm, NY
- Hannah Worden of Will-O-Crest Farm, NY
- Carla Wardin of Truth or Dairy, MI
- Amanda Freund of CowPots, CT
- Mandi Pacitti of Misty Brae Holsteins, Australia
- Jessica Chittenden Ziehm of Tiashoke Farm, NY
- Lisa Myers, MD
- Carissa Ann Tolzman, WI
- Danae Bauer of FarmGirl Photography, WI
- Ashley Kennedy of Messy Kennedy, MI
- Emily Lyons, Washington DC
- Joanna Rowher of Hollingstedt Schleswig Holstein, Germany
- Rita Mosset, ND
- Brianne Brown of Beslea Farms, Canada
- Pam Bolin, IA
- Janean Boss-Anderson, WI
- Jessica Peters of Spruce Row Farm, PA
- Amanda Williams, WI
- Trisha Boyce, PA
- Melissa Hanke, WI
- Tara Woyton, NY
- Melisa Konecky, NE
- Lizzie Frazier, NE
- Renee Norman-Kenny of Eat Farm Love, PA
- Amanda Killian of Dirt Road Holsteins, WI
- Kim Kester, WI
- Amy Ruegsegger, WI
- Alba Alvarez Nunez – Spain
- Emily Parker, WI
- Nicole Kearns, PA
- Cheyenne Ryzenga, MI
- Freynie Lancaster of Royalty Ridge, OR
- Maryanne Dudli, New Zealand
- Michelle, Keller, WI
- Ashley Abbott, VA
- Brenda Rudolph of Raising a Farm, MN
- Jennifer Heim, KS
- Janet Bremer of My Barn Yard View, MN
- Iris Barham Peeler, GA
- Laura Daniels of Heartwood Farms, WI