Mary Mackinson

“Mom, Eli wants you to read Charlie the Ranch Dog.” After a long day of trying to get the numbers to balance, the last thing I want to do is read this book and look for the chipmunk. Again. My mind begins to wander, what would I rather be doing? Maybe catching up on Real Housewives with a glass of Riesling?

Almost four years ago, a beautiful girl with red head and the brightest blue eyes made me a Mom. Two years later, we were blessed with a handsome boy who has my dark hair and brown eyes. I had no idea there were so many things to worry about. Am I doing a decent job raising our children? Which brand of diapers minimizes the mess when the dreaded blowout occurs? Are they getting sick or teething? Is what I am feeding my children good for them? Thankfully, the last question does not cause me anxiety. I am the 5th generation to grow up on the farm that has been in my family for over 150 years. Unfortunately, as the purchaser gets further removed from agriculture, many no longer have memories of their grandparent’s farm. As a consumer, you may have questions. You may want to get to know us, the people and lives behind the product. I am passionate about our farm and love to share my confidence in our food supply, especially the dairy industry, with others; which is why our barn door is always open.

When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher like my Mom. My Mom is passionate about educating the future generation. For the last twenty-five years, she has been the Kindergarten teacher at St. Mary’s School in Pontiac. Agriculture is a part of her curriculum. Every month, she incorporates different activities that highlight a segment of the agriculture industry, from grinding wheat to counting pasta. The school year always concludes with a trip to our dairy farm. The students and their parents can feed the calves, enjoy a hay rack ride, run relay races along the pond, and everyone gets to enjoy a big dish of Prairie Farms ice cream!

My Mom does not work on the farm, but her role must be recognized and applauded. Being married is hard; being married to a farmer may be harder; married to a dairy farmer for almost thirty-seven years is probably even harder. From picking up parts at the local implement dealer, taxi-ing people and dogs, and always making sure we made it to our final destination on time. My Mom always stood next to my Dad and supported him and the farming operation, and this includes signing her name right next to his.

A dairy farmer is committed to providing the consumer with a wholesome nutritious product. This goal is achieved every day by making cow comfort a top priority. It is not uncommon for our cows to be fed before us; something a Mom is very familiar with. Growing up on a farm taught me about hard work. Farmers put in man hours, often starting their day before the sun comes up and often calling it a day after the stars come out it. Just like when you become a Mom; you are always on the clock.

There have been instances where I have doubted myself, wondered can I do this? This Mom gig is hard, and yes, you do make mistakes. My Mom has always been there to support and reassure me. I am a good mom, and yes, I can do this. I love to see the joy and excitement of 4 little people who call her Grandma, or Abba, or MeeMa.

Being a Mom to Ava and Eli is truly one of the most beautiful and authentic jobs I could possess. I may get tired of constantly repeating myself or preparing hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese or re-reading Charlie. In my family, my Mom is a pillar of our family and farming operation and she is not thanked enough. For all those times I didn’t say “thank you” or “I love you”; I do.

Cheers to all the Moms out there that are doing the best they can and to all those people out there supporting them. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there, especially mine!