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!

Christmas Card 2

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:

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!


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.


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!

How to be a #girlboss

There are a lot of negative people influencing our world today. I mean, people (who has a name that rhymes with Jim Shmardashion) are tweeting naked pictures of themselves because they “LOL have nothing to wear.” And if you think that bothers me, you’re wrong…. IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM RRAAAAHHHH AND SMASH A JAR OF PICKLES AGAINST THE WALL!!! (I sometimes eat a jar of pickles for dinner, so now you know how serious that statement was).

This is crazy! We need to do better! Ladies, we need to be the example that celebrities aren’t. We need to go to school and/or work everyday and make something of ourselves. We need to lift one another, and celebrate each others success, as well as our own. We need to be comfortable in our bodies, and compliment each other when we notice a fresh hair cut or brand new blouse. We need to stop blaming others (specifically, the men in our lives) for our problems, and instead just buckle down and figure out how to solve them. We need speak loudly, but listen even more carefully. We need to stop being “too young” to do something (a baby shark is still a freaking shark). We need to have an open mind when it comes to life – opinions, love, politics, which tomato tastes better on a BLT… all of it! And ultimately, we need to find our passion and then live life just being fcking awesome at it.

Now, I know this is geared towards #girlbosses, but guys, there’s good stuff in here for you as well. I’ve gathered some of the best ladies I know and asked them to tell me what it takes to find that #girlboss inside yourself. Enjoy!


Don’t ruin your heels chasing men, rather chasing after your dreams. Pamela Ljeti, Ultimate Gal Pal and therapist (paid by tacos and margaritas) to The Cow Chronicler

I live vicariously through my girlfriends! As a #girlboss you each thrive on making a difference while inspiring those around you with passion in everything you do. The confidence to own who you are and what you stand for, while not being afraid to take chances, gives those around you the courage to stand up, walk proudly into a room and give a good hair flip that says “I’M HERE!” – Rachel Cloninger, mom to two beautiful nuggets while killing it in the work force

Shake it off! There will always be haters, but if you’re doing something you believe in and are passionate about, the haters will subside and you’ll have taken over the world with no regrets. – Emily Yeiser Stepp, Mom of Nittany-Pup and Ghosty the Wonder Cow

Find out what you’re good at and do a hell of a lot of it. Be nice, dress well, give back, surround yourself with good people and know your worth. Show up and never give up. Set yourself up for success!Chelsea Kerr, Horse Girl and the gal who’s gunna do my wedding flowers – shout out Kerr Kreations!

A #girlboss has a strong sense of self, independence and confidence that allows her to do what’s best for her, regardless of what friends, family or society tells her to do. A #girlboss does what she wants and happier because of it. – Alli Hartman, full-time students and part-time Bravo addict

Wake up every day and make the decision to have a positive impact on this world. Surround yourself with people who make you feel like you can conquer Mt. Everest, even if the hardest part of your day is getting your too tight pants on. Know yourself and your self-worth and (politely) demand that others respect you for who you are. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t… you can! You just need the right people to get you there. – Courtney Cowden, real-life loan officer, alter-ego Queen of brutally honest opinions

Being a girl boss means I have a fabulous support system to back me up (aka my #girlboss team!) while I try to make a lasting impact on the world. Nothing stands in the way of a girl boss – we kick butt accomplishing our dreams! – Melissa Boess, Apache Princess

Being a #girlboss to me is working hard and believing in what you’re passionate about. Supporting other people in the industry that share your passion. And lastly, being able to have meaningful conversations about progressive agriculture and agricultural education. – Lyndsey Royek, Hokie alumna and real-life credit analyst for AgChoice Farm Credit

Being a #girlboss means not only succeeding as a women in our dairy related careers, but coming together to empower one another to be the best version of ourselves. Also, we need to encourage each other when one hits a road block! – Caitlyn Pool, Penn State student and dairy cow enthusiast

Owning your mistakes, learning from those mistakes and letting others take the credit. Also, learning to never open your mouth until you are 110% sure you know what you’re talking about! – Erin Shaw, RN/BSN/CCRN aka really smart

Be courageous, adventurous, have a deep faith and most off all, have a kind and generous heart.Karyn Shaw, Not a regular mom but a cool mom (and grandmother, business owner and the best breakfast maker in the whole world – shout out to Blue Lantern Bed and Breakfast in Williamsburg, PA!)

Being a #girlboss is putting on an outfit that makes you feel sexy and smart and knowing that you’re owning the moment! Don’t let anyone bring you down. H8ters gunna H8!Sarah Davis, maker of cool shizzz via graphic design – I’m not kidding look at this stuff.

Be strong and confident. Be sassy, yet kind. And most importantly, be relevant. We all have the power to be a #girlboss and it is our duty to embrace that!Elle Collins, #ElleCycle and 1/2 #803BlondeStreet

Be a #girlboss by doing whatever it is that scares you. A #girlboss isn’t made by sitting at home, they’re made by taking chances, getting dirty and having a lot of fun. – Jillian Gordon, Graduate Assistant at the University of Georgia

Being a #girlboss means supporting each other’s passions and celebrating every win, no matter how small. Working together makes us all the ultimate #girlboss. – Amy Yeiser Leslie, Industry Communications Manager

Learn from your mistakes and never stop learning from them. There’s always room for improvement… What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger! Also, never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something (unless it’s your mom.. then you probably shouldn’t). – Jenna, FarmHer (get it…?)

Project confidence and be fearless. Or as my niece Emily says, “Never regret dessert.” – Kathy England, Business Manager

#TransformationTuesday – Meet Caitlin

Hey hey guys and gals it is time for yet ANOTHER feature on #TransformationTuesday. I’ll tell you what… winter isn’t my season for the gym. It’s cold and I’d rather stay cuddled under a blanket on the couch eating cake and watching Netflix (Parks and Rec reruns, anyone?). But it’s people like Caitlin who keep me motivated. I mean come on… look at this gal! You go girlfriend!

Below is her interview – enjoy 🙂

Introduce yourself! 

Hi, I’m Caitlin Patrick! I’m a 25 year old English teacher in Maryland. I grew up on a dairy farm and have remained passionate about agriculture my entire life. I love going to the gym, bath bombs, traveling and reading.

So you wanted to lose weight… why?

I was unhappy and unhealthy. I realized only I had the power to make a lifestyle change, so slowly but surely I changed my diet and exercise habits.

Tell us about your workout, diet, etc.

I swear by MyFitnessPal. I track everything I eat and drink and it has really held me accountable. I also work with a personal trainer once a week, go to spin class, run and lift weights. Once I became comfortable at the gym, I found myself there more often! I also have a great support system on gym buddies who push me and help me improve every single day.

Did you include dairy in your diet? If so, why?

Of course! I love dairy products and I love the protein I can get in products such as yogurt. My “diet” is all about portion control and making the healthiest choices. For example, I am obsessed with sour cream. Anyone who knows me knows this is true. I have been switching out sour cream and substituting plain Greek yogurt in its place. It’s still a delicious dairy product, but I am getting a lot more bang for my buck in terms of protein.

Do you have any advice out there for anyone else trying to complete their own #TransformationTuesday ?  

It’s a journey. Stick with it and don’t beat yourself up for skipping a gym day or eating way too much at dinner with your girlfriends. You are worth it. Grab a glass of milk and head to the gym!

caitlin patrick transformation tuesday

#TransformationTuesday – Meet Natasha!

Natasha Gibbons transformation tuesday 2016

Natasha Gibbons, a fun and spunky young woman is who I want to introduce you to next. I’ve known Natasha for a long time now, and she’s always had a strong personality that really makes you want to smile and be sassy with her. However, she wasn’t 100% comfortable with her body, so she did something about it. It wasn’t cutting out dairy products or drinking a flat tummy tea from Instagram that got her results… it was hard work and relentless determination!

This is what #TransformationTuesday is all about – feeling good in your body! Natasha is one spit fire that reminded me hard work pays off. You go girlfriend!

Introduce yourself! 

Hi, I’m Tasha. I’m 19 years old and a sophomore at Penn State Altoona. I waitress throughout the week and bartend on the weekends. I love my job because it keeps me active and I get to meet and socialize with all kinds of different people. I volunteer once a week at an after school program with elementary age kids. When I’m not working or studying I like to hang out with friends and go to the gym.

So you wanted to lose weight… why?

I wanted to lose weight because I could tell that I was not healthy and I knew it would be worth it if worked hard enough. I got tired of feeling uncomfortable and decided to make some changes.

Tell us about your workout, diet, etc.

I make it a goal to go to the gym 3-5 times a week to lift. I do not really follow any specific diet, because I am super picky when it comes to food. However, I did cut down on candy and sweets and stopped drinking soda all together.  I just make sure to train hard when I’m working out and to try and make healthier choices in general when it comes to eating.

Did you include dairy in your diet? If so, why?

I made dairy a huge part of my diet. I don’t really enjoy eating a lot of meat, and it started to feel like my body was starving for protein. I saw Fairlife milk on The Cow Chronicler Facebook so I gave it a try and loved it! I mix my protein shakes with Fairlife to get that extra protein that I’m missing from not eating meat.

Do you have any advice out there for anyone else trying to complete their own #TransformationTuesday ?

My advice to anyone else out there trying to complete their own #TransformationTuesday would be to develop a good mindset about the gym. I found that the hardest part was physically going to the gym. Once I was there, the rest came easy. When I was working out and started to feel like I was giving up I would tell myself that I could do it, to ignore my negative thoughts and push my body to work harder. Your body is capable of so much more than your brain thinks it is and that is one thing to always remember!

Agvocate and get abs, too

I had a lot of fun in college. And by fun, I mean club pizza parties and ice cream socials, of course. But then, I had to graduate and it was time to (kind of) grow up.

After graduation, life changed – and so had my body. I realized it was time to focus more on my health. With this in mind, I joined a new gym dedicated to group fitness. Slowly but surely, my health started changing and improving. What I didn’t expect were the new agvocating doors that opened.

Fitness quickly became something I loved. I felt great when I’d leave a workout, and I also began making new friends. However, fitness also came with a dark side … food fads and dieting trends. One was the misconception that dairy products make you “fat” and “unhealthy.”

At first, I didn’t want any part of it. I’m all about seizing any opportunity to support the dairy industry, but I was going to the gym to relieve stress, not to get into a debate. However, a friend at the gym approached me once and said, “When I talk to you, food makes sense. I’m not scared of milk or cheese or any of those dairy products anymore.”

It was then I realized I had just found my new avenue to agvocate. These are several examples of how agvocating and working on getting abs went hand-in-hand for me.

Read the rest of the Progressive Dairyman HERd Management article online!