Tag Archives: farmer

For This Nurse, Dairy Farming Provides the Perfect Antidote

Jennifer-Evers_Wismer_s-Dairy

When she isn’t caring for her patients, she’s caring for her cows.

For Jennifer Evers, a critical care nurse at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro, Oregon, spending her days off working on a dairy farm is the perfect antidote to a stressful work week. And it’s something she wouldn’t miss for the world.

“I really appreciate the farm as my outlet from nursing,” Evers said. “I really enjoy just going out there and relaxing, enjoying the environment, the peace, and just being with my family.”

Jennifer-Evers_farm-and-family-time Evers, who grew up on her family’s Wismer’s Dairy in Gaston, Oregon, married a fellow dairy farmer, Zack Evers, who now helps run his family’s operation, Ever May Farms in Forest Grove.

These days, Evers works three 12-hour shifts at the hospital each week, 4 to 8 hours a month at a nearby cardiologist’s office, and splits her time “off” between the two farms, pitching in where she’s most needed.

“I’m just a set of helping hands,” she said. “They’ll call me when they need a driver, or a milker, or someone to feed calves, or to move cows around. I’m just an eager helper, because it is not my everyday routine. I am refreshed and recharged, and it is a way for me to de-stress from my full-time job.”

For many young adults who were raised on a farm, it was never a doubt as to whether they would stay and work the family farm. For others, staying on the family farm was not their calling. Evers is sort of a hybrid.

“When I was in high school, my dad used to ask me why I wanted to leave him and leave the farm,” Evers remembered. “I told him [it was] so I could make a career for myself and because I wanted to help people in their worst of times and their best of times. And I still can’t think of anything else that I would rather do than nursing.”

jennifer-evers_critical-care-nurse It was when she was fresh out of college and still living on the family farm that Evers came to realize just how much farming meant to her.

“I really started to value my lifestyle and what I grew up with,” she said. “I could see how lucky I was compared to my co-workers. None of them had this outlet that I had. It was a place to go to be with family.”

During an intensive regimen of college courses, Evers continued to work the farm on most weekends and during college vacations. Her senior year, she started a two-year stint as a Dairy Princess Ambassador, advocating for the industry at events around the state and in classroom settings.

To this day, in fact, her fellow nurses call her the Dairy Princess.

“They tell all my patients, ‘You have the Dairy Princess taking care of you today,’” she shared.

Evers doesn’t mind the teasing and, in fact, uses it to advocate for the industry.

“I get very passionate when I talk with my patients and their families and staff about dairying,” she said. “My co-workers know I’m a farmer, and when they have questions, they come talk to me. About once a week we’re in a discussion in the middle of the nursing station, talking about a particular farming practice, or about how a farmer takes care of their land, about how they treat their cows if they are sick, and just kind of correcting misunderstandings that they may have from misinformation.”

Her interest in representing the dairy industry led her to join the Oregon Dairy Products Commission as one of its newest board members. Looking ahead, Evers said she has no plans to choose between her full-time profession and her passion for dairy, preferring to leave things as they are for the foreseeable future.

“For me, it is the best of both worlds, to be able to work thirty-six hours a week as a nurse, and spend four days a week on the dairies,” she said.

It might not be your normal weekend activity, but it’s one that works just fine for Jennifer Evers.

 

This story also appears on the DairyGood website.

Adopt a Farmer Program Includes Oregon Dairies

Each year, Oregon dairy farmers participate in a program called Adopt a Farmer through Oregon Aglink to help promote agriculture through educating middle school students. Five Oregon dairy farm families are currently participating in this year’s program giving students the opportunity to experience a dairy farm firsthand.

The five dairies include:

  • Harrold’s Dairy in Creswell
  • Cloud Cap Farms in Boring
  • Mayfield Dairy in Aurora
  • Veeman’s Dairy in St. Paul
  • Willamette Valley Cheese in Salem

In addition to offering tours of their farms, these dairy farmers visit their adoptive classroom two to three times throughout the school year to engage students in the science behind farming. They participate in activities related to soil, water, conservation, irrigation, genetics, the farm-to-table continuum and economics.

Learn more about one of Oregon’s dairy farmers, Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms and her participation in the program.

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RELATED LINKS:

Adopt a Farmer

Dairy Meets Classroom: Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms

Cloud Cap Dairy, Boring, OR

Cloud Cap Dairy on Facebook

Cloud Cap Dairy on Twitter

Cloud Cap Dairy on Instagram

Throwing for Tokyo, Driven By Dairy

With the close of the Rio Olympics, the summer games will be out of sight and out of mind for most until the Olympic flame reignites in Japan in 2020. There are some though, whose competitive spirit still burns bright. Melissa Ausman, a national-caliber discus thrower and senior at Concordia University in Oregon, is one such athlete with her sights set on the Tokyo Olympics.melissa-ausman-headshot

It’s a long way to Tokyo from the dairy farm in Nyssa, Oregon, where Melissa grew up – 5,135 miles to be exact. And that dairy farm is where it all began, starting with her relentless work ethic and mental fortitude. Just ask her father, Frank.

“Melissa and all the kids basically started out just like I did as a kid out here; you start with taking care of the baby calves, haying and graining, and you work your way up the ladder,” he said. “Out here, you figure out real quick that it doesn’t matter what day it is or how cold or hot it is or whatever, the work has to be done.”dairy farm in nyssa oregon

Melissa agreed, “There are no days off when you’re on the dairy, or trying to reach your goals.”

Ausman began throwing for sport in seventh grade, when she discovered her drive to become an Olympic athlete. Her throwing career was instigated by her competitive side, urging her to throw better than her older brother. She continued to improve over the years that followed, winning state in high school, setting records at Oregon State University, and now training for that next big step at Concordia University.

Currently, she can throw a discus 53.91 meters (176.87 feet), which is beyond the width of an NFL football field. This distance has Ausman just 40 feet away from qualifying for the Olympics. Within two years, she will achieve this mark if she continues to add distance at her current pace.

Ausman has immersed herself completely into her training. Even on her weekly rest day where she stays home from the gym, she continually trains her mind by learning how to improve. That means keeping current on Olympic medalists and working aspects of their training into her routines. She has also learned the importance of balance. melissa-ausman-training

“I’m a sister, daughter, student, athlete — and each one represents a spoke on a wheel,” said Ausman. “If I spend too much on one spoke, then I have a lumpy, lopsided wheel.” After coming to this realization during her sophomore year, Ausman found her balance and beat her personal discus record by 19 feet.

Ausman also depends on the nutritional benefits of dairy in her training regimen. She shamelessly sports an overstuffed bag full of whey protein powder containers to ensure access to nutrition after workouts. Before bed, Melissa’s favorite snack is cottage cheese with pears and cinnamon. She also enjoys greek yogurt as a replacement for mayonnaise; one of many gems she has gleaned from her avid Pinterest searching. To Ausman, training in the kitchen and fueling her body properly is another vital spoke in her wheel of life.

What advice does Melissa offer to aspiring athletes? “Whatever effort you are willing to put into your sport, the results will come accordingly,” she said. “No one else is going to give you the drive to be the best.” She also warned against dwelling on setbacks, suggesting that you can’t get stuck in the past if you want to be focused on your future.
Speaking of the future, what do mom and dad think of Melissa’s Olympic aspirations?

“Oh, she’ll get there, I’m sure,” said Frank. “Anytime I have ever doubted her, she has proven me wrong.”

“She gets her mind set on what she wants to do, and that’s what she’s going to do,” said Lyndia. “I’m not going to put off getting a passport.”