ADDY, Wash. — The owners of Stauffer Dairy say there are many things to love about dairy work, but most of all it brings their family together.
Krista Stauffer, who runs the dairy with her husband, Brandon, said she is new to dairying. She met her husband when she was working outside the industry as a cashier.
Her husband, who comes from a line of dairy farmers, was also doing non-dairy work when they first met. He was working at an oil refinery, but he dreamed of someday owning a dairy.
They married and decided to make his dream a reality. In 2009, they leased land and started Stauffer Dairy in Addy, Wash.
“It was the worst possible time to do this,” she said. Prices were at record lows, but they were optimistic that they would improve. She is thankful that prices have increased since, which she said has made the couple look like geniuses now.
Still, she said that she and her husband lacked the advantages many other people in the industry possess. Instead of inheriting an operational dairy, the Stauffers had to start “from the ground up.”
They started in a location where they did not know many people, as Brandon came from the other side of the state. So in recent years, they have worked to forge friendships in the local dairy industry and establish a good reputation.
The young couple — he is 30 and she is 28 — placed a high priority on building relationships with other people in the industry.
“There are some old dairymen around here,” she said, “and they have been amazing. We couldn’t have done what we have without them.”
Through her blog, thefarmerswifee.com, she has also met other people in dairy. The website also gives her opportunity for creative expression.
“Everyone has their own thing, and writing and taking pictures is mine,” she said. She includes her insights and photography on the blog.
She is also able to publish truths about the dairy industry of which people outside the industry are unaware. She said that many people have misconceptions about the industry, and she hopes to help them understand the efforts of dairy people to be good stewards of the land and producers of healthy products.
She enjoys the blog and the animals, but her favorite part of operating the dairy is that it gives her a life that is close to her husband and children.
“We’re home, and I get to work beside my husband,” she said. “Our kids get to work with us and have this amazing life.”
At 6, 3 and 1 years old, her children mostly just play around them while they work. The oldest child loves to help and feeds calves, and the other two work to their abilities, which may mean just “running around and falling into poop.”
Still, they do everything as a family, and the young matriarch of this clan says she loves this dairy life a great deal.
“It’s a great experience,” she said.
Location: Addy, Wash.
Owners: Brandon and Krista Stauffer
Time in business: 5 years
Size: 40 acres
Cows: 130 (milking), around 300 total
Mother Krista Stauffer holds children Trevin Stauffer and Tierra Stauffer while standing next to her husband, Brandon, who carries another one of their children, Taseyn Stauffer.