It’s a town kid who’s got a big passion for dairy.
“‘Passion’ is the first word that comes to mind,” declared Spring Valley resident Makala Nauman, a 2016 Kingsland graduate who has that big passion for the dairy industry. That love emerged after getting a job milking the Holsteins at Heusinkveld Farms in Cherry Grove. This year, Nauman has been named one of Fillmore County’s dairy princesses, even though her backyard definitely isn’t big enough to be called a pasture.
She explained, “I live in Spring Valley, right in town. I have been interested in dairy for about two years now – I became interested when I got the job at Heusinkvelds’. I needed a job and my brother worked at Heusinkvelds’, so I decided to get a job there in August 2014. I wanted to try something new.”
That “something new” has evolved into a career aspiration as Nauman has come to love the work she does and especially the cows with which she works.
She has been a member of Kingsland’s FFA chapter since seventh grade – serving as assistant reporter in 2013-2014, sentinel in 2014-2015 and president during the 2015-2016 school year. She was also a member of the poultry team while in eighth grade, on the forestry team in ninth grade and a member of the dairy foods team from her sophomore year to the end of her high school career.
“I just love the environment and the cows. I work at two farms outside of Spring Valley – Heusinkvelds’, with 400 cows, and B&C, with 200 cows. Both farms, I have a favorite cow – 1945 at Heusinkvelds’ and 115 at B&C. I love those cows and the rest of them also…they are like family to me,” Nauman said.
Being around animals and learning how to take care of them properly has helped Nauman develop into the young woman she is today.
“I am still learning every day,” she said, “(including) new things about cows, since I never grew up on a farm. I have learned that it is a lot harder than people think – all of your time is spent with the animals and caring for them. Farmers put in all their time for their animals every single day. Farmers honestly have a major passion for their animals and give them top care performance. There is no break at a farm.”
In spite of the fact that dairy farmers don’t get to take two-week — or sometimes two-hour – vacations, Nauman has become endeared by the cows, such as 1945 and 115, and has determined she’s most definitely a town-raised girl in search of a country dream.
“I plan to attend Riverland Community College and receive knowledge to hopefully own my own farm someday,” she said. “Dairy farms have been losing numbers in the dairy community, and it’s incredibly important to help dairy consumers to support farms to help save those numbers. I want to get my knowledge out there to help save farms.”
She enjoys being a Fillmore County Dairy Princess because she likes sharing about the dairy industry with people who might like to learn more.
“I like talking to farmers and teaching the younger generations that they could be a part of a farm when they grow up,” Nauman added. “I want consumers to know that you don’t have grow up on a farm to have a passion for the animals. I will be very busy in June since it is Dairy Month. The princesses will be attending parades and handing out ice cream at many locations. Otherwise, all of this summer, I will be milking or helping in the field. I will be posting and sharing information on Facebook all of June and other months. I usually love posting pictures of my cows while I’m working. I think with the cow selfies all over Facebook, that has helped me quite a bit (to advocate for the dairy industry).”
Nauman’s biggest piece of advice or encouragement, however, is, “Go visit a farm, and you might just fall in love with it. I know I did.”