Amongst us older guys, it’s almost a rite of passage; decrying the sorry state of the younger generation. They’re not as dedicated, not as hard-working, they just don’t have the same values as us old fogies. And then we meet someone like Stephanie Dykshorn.
Somehow, she never got the message that the next generation is a failed generation. Raised as a military brat, not a farm girl, she moved often until her parents retired to northwestern Iowa. After graduating from tiny Calvin College in 2000, she met Paul Dykshorn, a dairyman’s son and the third generation to run the family farm near Ireton, Iowa.
“Yeah, I met a farmer and fell in love,” she said. I’m sure she was referring to Paul but her enthusiasm for agriculture shines through just as strongly, too.
Her commitment to agriculture shows in this statement she made about the ANF (America Needs Farmers) Farm Tour 2013: “Farming is a job and lifestyle that you can literally pass on to your kids and grandkids. I think every farmer wants to pass on their farm to future generations, so we care for the animals we raise and the land we farm in order to leave that legacy for them.
“I am most passionate about telling people what we do and why we do it. I think they’ll see things differently; they’ll understand the richness of our heritage.”
When I asked her to describe her daily work load, she said, “When we went back to the farm in 2005 we were milking about 200 cows. Paul wanted to grow the business and we’ve more than doubled the herd. Today, we milk 450 cows and farm 600 acres where we raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa. We raise our own replacement heifers, A.I. all our cattle and sell our milk to DFA.” Stephanie works full-time in banking and is a volunteer EMT.
“All our crops go back to feed our animals,” she said. “It’s a closed loop that lets us give our cattle all the nutrients they need.”
Like all Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) members, she’s paid her dues with service to a number of agricultural organizations. She’s president of the Sioux County Farm Bureau, a member of the Bovine Advisory Board of the Iowa Farm Bureau, a committee chairman for the Dairy Advisory Committee of the American Farm Bureau, a member of Dairy Farmers of America and co-chairman of its Young Cooperator group, and a member and treasurer of the Sioux County Dairy Promotion. Stephanie has been an active spokesperson for farmers and the dairy industry through Farmers Feed Us and as one of Iowa’s Farm Strong families through the Iowa Farm Bureau. Because of all that hard work, she was nominated to the CBB by the Iowa Farm Bureau and she’s just begun her first term.
“I’ve been appointed to the Health and Nutrition Committee,” she said. She brings a degree in exercise science to that group, making her an ideal fit to start immediately contributing to their work.
To learn more about Stephanie and the Dykshorn Dairy Farm, watch this Youtube video first published March 9, 2012.