For the Love of Dairy Cows

Meet our crewmember, Erin

As we celebrate Dairy Month, we’re taking a moment to appreciate the hard work of our Dairy Crew. If you spend any time with this team, you’ll shortly learn that their work means much more to them than ‘just a paycheck.’ This is a committed group of advocates who work in the best interest of our farmers and their girls.

Erin, our Dairy Operations Specialist, wears many hats here at Vital Farms. Whether she’s knee-deep in Excel spreadsheets or out on dairy farms building lasting relationships with our farmers – one thing’s for sure – Erin’s work is driven by her passion for animals and adoration for cows.

Erin was immersed in farm life at a young age, growing up on a fruit farm in California. She helped her family run the business until she left for college, which marked her transition from stone fruit to animal agriculture.

“I went to college wanting to study animal science because I thought I wanted to go to vet school. But then I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I pivoted to the animal industry. I was interested in dairy for its focus on the long-term health of cows.”

During her internships, Erin was introduced to life on the dairy farm – milking, feeding calves, and caring for cows.

“Milking a cow is a lot of work, and it can be repetitive, but it’s a rewarding job. It gives you an appreciation for the people who do it every day.” While Erin no longer performs these demanding tasks, she can empathize with the work of our farmers, building trust and establishing a lasting connection based on mutual respect.

“Many don’t realize the number of people that worked to get this product all the way to your table. We need to think about the people who chose to do that as their job.”

“I wish more people knew how hard dairy farmers work. They have a lot to manage and are under a lot of stress caused by factors totally out of their hands. Dairy farming can be an under-appreciated field.”

“The best part of my job is advocating for animal agriculture by bridging the gap between consumers and dairy farmers. With each generation of consumers, we’re getting further from farming, leading to questions, concerns, and confusion about what’s happening with our food. Being willing to teach and educate is super important to the success of farming, helping to bring nutritious (and delicious) products to people around the world. Many don’t realize the number of people that worked to get this product all the way to your table. We need to think about the people who chose to do that as their job. So much attention and care went into getting it from Point A to Point B.”

Farming, at its core, is all about relationships. And a farmer’s bond with their girls is equally important as the connection between farm to table.

“Our farmers raise their animals with respect and integrity. The girls are calm creatures as long as they’re content, and it’s always nice to be in a barn or enjoying a sunny day with them, seeing them doing their thing. The more time you spend with dairy cows, you learn about their smart personalities and quirks. One cow I worked with in college wanted her face pet like a dog,” Erin joyfully reminisced, “There was also this water spigot. She would push up against it with her nose when she wanted a drink.”

Erin says she’d love to have a hobby farm of her own one day, which would only be complete with cows and as many dogs as her husband would allow. She laughed unashamedly, “If it weren’t for him, I’d probably have ten dogs.”

We’re grateful to have dedicated crew members like Erin on our team. Seeing the industry through the eyes of a dairy farmer and doing whatever it takes to improve our food system – one stick of butter at a time.

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