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An Illinois Farm Girl Follows Her Heart from Farm to School

by Karen Bohnert | Oct 8, 2015 | Farm, School | 0 comments

Cassie and friends in the barn

A typical day for Cassie, who is always sporting braids, boots and a smile, is helping her father with the cows or her Grandpa Jim with the crops. Of course, Cassie, like any other 9-year-old, loves to play with her friends and, more times than not, she invites them out to the farm.

Cassie’s friends beg to come to the farm — to help feed calves, watch cows being milked, and see the corn grow tall. “My friends ask me if our brown cows give chocolate milk,” says Cassie. “I shake my head, tell them no, and also tell them to have at least three servings of dairy every day.”

Recently Cassie was in the limelight, sharing her farm life and how milk gets to the grocery store From a Farm Family Near You.

https://youtu.be/jaS0DdWX1mI

Cassie, our middle child and only girl, who is sandwiched in-between two brothers, loved getting to star in this video. She eagerly accepted the role; not to gain attention, but to put attention on dairy farming and share with others how we care for our cows and land.

“I really love working with my dad and being with our cows, so being in this video let me do both,” says Cassie.

October is National Farm-to-School Month, a time to celebrate the connection between children and local food happening all over the country.

Inside the barn doors and in the midst of cropland, farm kids just like Cassie and her brothers are learning firsthand how cows and land are cared for and witnessing dairy farmers’ 24/7 passion, hard work and commitment. The farm-to-school concept occurs daily; not just in the classroom and not just during October.

Farm kids just like my Jersey trio hold a wealth of knowledge about how their food is produced and how animals are cared for, so it made perfect sense to have Cassie take the lead and tell our dairy good story.

“My dad works very hard,” says Cassie. “He loves our cows as much as he loves me,” she says. “And, I feel so lucky!”

Cassie’s friends tell her that she is lucky to live on a farm. It makes me smile to know that even at a young age, my daughter loves her farm life and enthusiastically shares it with her peers.

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Karen Bohnert

Hi, I’m Karen Bohnert of Bohnert Jerseys located in the Illinois Quad Cities area. I am a mom, dairy farmer’s wife and dairy enthusiast – through and through. My pride and passion for each of these roles could fill a barn!

My life has taken its turn east since growing up on my family’s 100-cow dairy farm in central Oregon and graduating from Oregon State University in 1998 with a B.S. in agricultural economics and a minor in writing.

After launching my career more than 10 years ago, giving me great opportunities to communicate the voice of dairy farmers from coast to coast, while working with various organizations such as the American Jersey Cattle Association, Cooperative Resources International and Swiss Valley Farms – I am now where I dreamed I’d be.

That dream place is being a stay-at-home mother to three wonderful children and wife to the hardest working dairy farm man I know.

My husband Scott is a first generation dairy farmer – who has reached much success and recognition at a young age from his awesome cow care, elite genetics, and excellent milk quality and production. He, with his parents and brother, owns and operates a 500-cow registered Jersey dairy farm and farms 1,500 acres. My husband’s devotion to his family, cattle and land made me realize that he was my soul mate for life and the man I wanted to raise a family with on a farm.

Our lives are busy chasing kids, milking cows and taking great pride in our farm – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are simply living our dream.

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