Meet Steve, the #DairyDad

Steve the #DairyDad. When it comes to being kickass, this guy has it down to a science… and I’m not saying that just because he’s going to read this and I want him to buy us Chinese takeout for dinner tonight. *angel halo emoji* Seriously though, this guy is the best. I already wrote sappy things about him and my brother is hunting prairie dogs in Montana with him (like a real life version of that computer game we used to play as kids… anyone else? No? Cool.). SO we’ll let his other two daughters take it from here.

And who may you gals be?

Erin Shaw, registered nurse, mother of a hyperactive and hyper curious one-year old Alexander, and wife to hard working and man child Nicholas.

Heeello, I’m Emily! I’m a 21 year old about to be senior at Penn State University (CRAZY). This summer, my weekdays are filled up with an internship at AgChoice Farm Credit. Outside of being a wild college student and intern, I enjoy spending time with dairy cows through shows and judging, traveling as much as my bank account allows, and being with family and friends.

Who is your #DairyDad?

Erin. Steve Shaw; My father works on the U.S. dairy sales team for Cargill Animal Nutition.

Emmy. Pops name is Steven Patrick Shaw, the same middle name as his dad and my little brother Tyler. He works for Cargill as the National Dairy Sales Leader of the US. This guy is always traveling and meeting with people, and sometimes it’s even hard for me to keep track of him. Becca told me to include some interesting about Pops, like his favorite pizza topping, so here we go: I think my dad enjoys almost anything on pizza, considering it’s a bad slice of pizza is rare like a unicorn, but I do know that he really wants to try the new cheeseburger pizza from Papa Johns! Other than pizza, it’s a fact that he will scope out the best steak in whatever area he is in, along with finding a peachy drink to join it.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

Erin. My father introduced me to the dairy life after purchasing my first Holstein, Hillmont Thor Satin when I was eight years old. She was super tall, super fat, and super white but she earned me lots of ribbons and recognition and instilled in me a love for the breed and the industry. The yearly show circuit was where my Dad and I bonded (and fought plenty too) but it was our time together to grow as a family and as a farm. I cannot wait for him to introduce my son and his first grandchild, to the joy that is “show week” and the pride that can be earned from working hard and having beautiful cows!

Emmy. Other than working in the dairy industry through his position in Cargill, my dad has had a passion for the dairy industry his whole life. He grew up on a dairy farm, and then went to Penn State for Dairy Science. Throughout his life, he has been involved with showing and judging. His passion for the industry is contagious and he instilled it in us early on. Dad has always encouraged us to show and judge, and to be involved with taking care of our animals. When there was an opportunity for us, my dad was sure to get us involved.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Erin. Hardcore. Enough said.

Emmy. Supportive. No matter what I have done throughout my life, my dad was always there to keep things in perspective and push me through tough times with encouragement.

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Erin. Thank you for stepping up when the other guy didn’t. Thank you for this life that wouldn’t be possible without you. Through the good times and the bad, you taught me how to be self-sufficient and that working hard does pay off.

Emmy. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I know kids can be frustrating at times, especially when I went through phases of being a teenager full of attitude. *PAUSE – The Cow Chronicler would like to know when this phase ended? Whatever. Carry on* But there has never been a time that you weren’t there for me. From my traveling softball tournaments every weekend in the summer, to waiting for me at our pack after I come back from the show ring to see how I did, you were there to keep me going and enjoy the fun times. I am truly blessed to have you as a dad, and I will always be grateful.


Meet Frank, the #DairyDad

Parker is known for a lot of things, most notably calling me “Becky with the ok hair” (since I’m not Beyonce not matter how hard I try), killing it on the dance floor and dropping bomb one liners. My favorite one liner is something he shared in his #DairyDad interview, “Currently at that stage in life where I’m learning everything my parents’ tried teaching me was right,” because well… same here, man. Don’t tell our parents we admitted it, but they are usually right… 🙂


Who may you be?

The name’s Parker, I’m 26 years old and graduated from Virginia Tech a whopping 5 years ago. Currently at that stage in life where I’m learning everything my parent’s tried teaching me was right. (Listen to your parent’s, kids! They do know best.)

Who is your #DairyDad?

Frank Welch, landscaping extraordinaire, prides himself on his lawn – it’s the second best thing he’s raised (My twin brother, Patrick and I are tied at #1). He works more hours than anyone I know but still found time to coach my brother and I throughout our baseball, basketball, and soccer careers. He’s currently addicted to the “good stuff” as he calls it – Fairlife Chocolate Milk.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

My dad didn’t grow up in the dairy industry; he married into it. Although he did spend some time milking cows growing up as one of his many childhood jobs. The ways he’s supported (and still supports) me in the dairy industry are endless. Growing up showing, my dad “hauled ‘em and strawed ‘em,” in his words (he really cracked himself up with this one). When our grandparents sold their herd in 2004, our dad made it possible to keep show heifers at our house and ON HIS LAWN – that’s love folks. He did everything and anything for my brother and I growing up when it came to the cows.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Selfless – He puts everyone before himself. EVERYONE. If there is someone who needs help with something, he’ll lend a hand – even to a complete stranger. There are numerous occasions where most people would have turned a blind eye, kept driving by, etc. but not my dad. I wish I were half as selfless as he is.

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Since I probably didn’t say it enough growing up – thank you for all that you did and continue to do. You are appreciated.

Dairy Dad Picture (Parker Welch)

Meet Rusty, the #DairyDad

If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Rusty Yeiser, I kinda sorta totally feel bad for you. Not only is he quite possibly the happiest man alive, he also makes a mean bloody mary (I mean come on… #priorities). Cheers to you, Rusty!


And who may you gals be?

The Yeiser Sisters, Emily Yeiser Stepp and Amy Yeiser Leslie, grew up just outside of Annapolis, MD leasing and showing dairy animals through the 4-H leasing program. They both attended Penn State University. Today, Emily (30) works with the national dairy animal care program and lives in Sterling, VA with her husband, Cody, and dog, Nittany. Amy (25) works in dairy promotion and lives with her husband, Joe, and dog, Sydney, in Butler, PA.

Who is your #DairyDad?

Rusty Yeiser grew up in Syracuse, NY making fun of the kids at the New York State Fair that laid down and cuddled with their dairy show heifers. What’s that saying about karma, dad….? Rusty attended the United States Naval Academy and retired from the Navy as Captain in 1998. Currently, he is a development officer for the Naval Academy Foundation and lives with his wife, Gail, in Arnold, MD. They have been married for 41 years. He loves to golf, cheer for Navy, Syracuse, Maryland, and Penn State college sports, and play with his grand-dogs.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

Rusty had little involvement in the dairy industry growing up and until he met his wife, Gail. Shortly after they got married, he helped deliver his first dairy calf at a friend’s dairy farm. When Emily was 8, Gail learned of a new 4-H dairy leasing program that was only 20 minutes away from home, Rusty knew it was inevitable that his two girls would be involved. From watching The Masters golf tournament in the barn as the girls clipped for Spring Show, to being the best bucket holder, as he says,  ‘at the south end of a north facing cow,’ Dad has been there for us through every step of our journey in the dairy industry.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Fun-loving Dadzabub aka best Dad ever!

If you had the chance to say one last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Words can barely begin to describe our love and appreciation for you, Daddyo. You have stood by us, entertaining our crazy ideas, asking the right questions, and always supporting our dreams with guidance and most importantly, unwavering love. We would not be where we are today, personally, professionally or as human beings without your constant presence in our lives. We both love you to the moon and back!

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Meet Ron, the #DairyDad

Em C is one of the sweetest, most loving and fun-having people I have ever met. So it’s no surprise that she has a rockstar for a father. When it comes to smile that lights up a room… it seems to be genetic. Take it away, Em!

And who may you be?

I’m Emily Caldwell, an editor with Progressive Dairyman magazine. I’m a 2009 Penn State graduate. My current hobbies include remodeling a house and planning a wedding.

Who is your #DairyDad?

My dad is Ron Caldwell, and he’s a farmer and a 1979 Penn State graduate. Dad’s hobbies change on a regular basis. In the past two years he’s dabbled in making maple syrup, growing strawberries and raising guineas. (The guinea thing is new within the past month. The first time I stopped by to see them, they started making a racket. I said, “It sounds like Wild Kingdom around here!” Dad just nodded enthusiastically. That’s exactly what he was going for.)

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

Dad was a 5th generation dairy farmer and recently transitioned the farm over to my brother and his wife. Most farm kids would tell you that they learned values like hard work, dedication and responsibility from their farming parents. While that’s certainly true of the Caldwell kids, I’d add that Dad taught us not to be afraid to be a little different. My parents decided to switch to grazing (instead of conventional dairying) in an area that didn’t have many grazing dairies. He’s done once-a-day milking. He experimented with all kinds of different grazing breeds of cows. He established a seasonal herd so that all the cows have their calves in the spring, get bred again during the summer and then are dried off during the winter. These are all things that might seem a little crazy to fellow farmers, but it worked for our family.

I wrote an editorial for the magazine two years ago for Father’s Day about Dad’s pep talks: http://www.progressivedairy.com/blogs/from-the-editor/thanks-for-the-pep-talk-dad

This sums up pretty well how I think Dad has supported me in the industry.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!
Enterprising. I looked up “hardworking” in an online thesaurus, and though it wasn’t a synonym, enterprising was a related word to hardworking. Dad is resourceful and takes on new projects with a lot of enthusiasm. He’s not a guy who likes to take orders, and he doesn’t like to manage other people. So any form of farming or making a living from here on out that he’ll do will likely be on his own (with the support of my mom, of course).

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

I think I’d tell him to just take a second and appreciate all that he’s accomplished. When my fiancé (then boyfriend) was getting to know my family, I warned him that my dad is hard to impress. But what I recently realized is that Dad has a hard time impressing himself too. If we tell him how good the meat is from his new smoker or how nice a fence looks that he built, he shrugs off the compliment. It’s not because he’s trying to be humble. He just genuinely thinks he could have done it better. I’d remind him that he raised a great family (especially that third kid!), kept the family farm going and ensured it could be passed on to another generation, and works hard every day to the right things for his family, the environment and the local community. And that’s just the stuff I know about. High five, Dad!

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Meet Dave, the #DairyDad

Dave is known for a lot of things… my favorite are raising two feisty red heads who I get to call my friends, and making sure everyone gets their chocolate milkshake (or another flavor if you’re weird) at the Pennsylvania Farm Show (shout out PA Dairyman’s Association!). Though Joel is a man of few words, he captures the awesomeness of his dad in them (mainly, in Dave’s dad jokes).


Who may you be?

Joel  –  farmer  –  26  –  Graduate of THEE (you catch that?) Pennsylvania State University

Who’s your #DairyDad?

My father is David Smith. He is a full time farmer who loves chocolate, the outdoors, sleep, being a dad, telling dad jokes, family time and milkshakes.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

He is the Executive director of the PA Dairymen’s Association.

He has taught me how to raise dairy heifers and always supported me in school and with other dairy related involvements.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Caring – he is always willing to help in any situation and go out of his way to help others.

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Thanks for being the best role model to look up to.

Meet Jeff , the #DairyDad

Casey, who I’ve come to know well in the last few years, is a genuine gal with a good heart… something I believe she’s learned from her father. She is one example of someone who had a father who wasn’t milking cows every day, but still found ways to help her become (and stay) successful. And that’s what makes dads awesome; love, support and encouragement to be the best that you can be.


And who may you be?

My name is Casey (Marstaller) Hushon. I work as an account supervisor at Charleston|Orwig, a strategic marketing communications firm based in Wisconsin. We serve clients throughout the food chain from the farm to the retail shelf. I’m one of the older millennials at C|O, so one part of my job is to explain all of us to our older colleagues. I am a proud Virginia Tech (Let’s Go! Hokies!) graduate with a degree in Dairy Science and English. I have lived in Wisconsin for 9 years where my husband, Josh (of 7 years), and I live on a hobby farm with Brown Swiss and Ayrshire show calves. In my free time I enjoy trail running, reading, watching sports and hanging out with my dog, Buddy. I once ran a 50-mile trail race because I liked the snacks along the way.

Who is your #DairyDad?

Jeff Marstaller is a visionary with the work ethic to bring dreams to life. As a wholesale greenhouse owner, he dreamed up a greenhouse that would emit zero-carbon emissions through the use of photovoltaic and geothermal technology. Thanks to that vision, some state and national funding, this dream opened in 2013 and serves business throughout Maine.

Outside of the poly-houses, my dad spends his time involved with church, international missionary work, family and sports. He loves mushroom pizza, Greely High School basketball, puzzles and other things I did not inherit his skill at, quick wit and a good laugh.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

 My dad’s involvement in dairy came down to saying “yes.” When I was 7 years old, my uncle—who owns our family’s Ayrshire dairy operation in Livermore Falls, Maine—called my parents to ask if I could take a calf home from their farm to raise. My dad persuaded my mom into saying yes. That year under the Christmas tree was a rope halter and a card inviting me to pick out any calf I wanted that spring.

From the start my dad was into the project. He went to 4-H meetings, built wooden sides for his truck so we can haul animals, learned how to clip and even how to show. He built a full plywood cow to take to the fair with an interactive quiz to educate others about the dairy industry. He also let me learn true life lessons like losing gracefully, winning humbly and to always do the right thing.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Genuine – He always does what he says he will do, honest in his dealings with others and cares for others. Whether it’s growing plants for no charge for a local garden club, traveling to Cambodia to build churches or pitching in for a week to improve my fixer-upper house, his motives and actions are always genuine.

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Thank you for living out the example you taught us growing up.  Putting faith and family first, being present, working hard and still having fun. We never had to ask what your priorities were because your actions made it very clear that no matter how busy work was, you would be there. I can count on one hand how many basketball games, cows shows or youth group events you missed—and your time means more than you’ll ever know.

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Meet Dale, the #DairyDad

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with Emily at National Dairy events across the U.S., and I say it with confidence that Emily is truly proud to be the daughter of a dairy farmer. And THAT is something that makes my heart smile… and I hope it makes yours smile too!


And who may you be?

Hi!  My name is Emily, I am a 25-year old dairy farmer’s daughter from the great state of Minnesota!  I grew up on my family’s dairy farm in south central Minnesota, and my passion for the dairy industry and those who work in it led me to the University of Minnesota.  After graduation, I took a job with “the U” as an Extension Educator in Livestock Production Systems in a 3-county area.  I have the pleasure of working with dairy farmers every day, and I am so lucky that I get to do that!

Who is your #DairyDad?

My awesome dad is Dale, dairy farming and jack-of-all-trades extraordinaire!  He is a dairy farmer as well as an Occupational Therapist, because he apparently wasn’t busy enough.  My dad LOVES reading books, any books.  The joke in our family is we could give him a book called “The History of Glue” and he would read the entire thing cover to cover.  He also likes playing cards, going to museums and historical sites, and embarrassing his children.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

My dad has been involved in the dairy industry since a young age.  His parents founded our family farm which is still in operation today.  Farming is in his blood, and I couldn’t imagine him doing anything else.  He has had his fair share of bad luck as a farmer—accidents, crop-damaging weather, but nothing turns him away or dampens his spirits.  His resiliency is what makes me so passionate about dairy.  No one batted an eye when both of my brothers chose to go to college for dairy degrees and return to the industry, but I got a few raised eyebrows when I wanted to do the same.  Not from my dad, though.  He never questioned my decision, and is always excited to hear about what I have going on with the dairy farmers I help now.  Not to mention he was always there to help with 4-H calves and never missed a dairy princess banquet.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Zany!  I don’t know, it’s just the first thing that popped into my head.  I mean it in an endearing way.  I think you need to be a little bit weird to keep yourself from going insane when you are a farmer, a father of 5, and work off the farm as well.  Go Dad!

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Dad, thank you for always supporting me and standing by me—even when I wasn’t totally sure what I was doing.  I have not been the perfect daughter, but I feel like that never mattered to you.  I also so appreciate that you are always willing to help me in whatever way you can.  You are busy, but when I call on you for something, you always find a way to make sure I am taken care of.  I love you!