CRESWELL, Ore. — When Bobbi Harrold Frost went off to college to earn her animal science degree, her folks hoped that she’d become a nutritionist or take another job in the industry — anything but farming.
“They understood how hard it is to really make your living on a farm, but farming is just the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do,” Frost said.
One day she was talking to a salesman visiting the dairy who shared that he’d been in a similar situation, but that by the time he was old enough to join the family farm it was out of business. He encouraged her to follow her heart.
“He told me that I could get a job in the industry and see animals every day but that it would never be the same as having my own farm,” Frost said. “I realized that I wanted to see my own cows every day and I am extremely fortunate that my grandparents, parents and everybody did such a good job that there was a farm left for me to come back to.”
Frost graduated in 2011, joined her father, Max, as a partner in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.
Harrold’s Dairy milks 450 to 500 cows daily and grows most of its own feed on about 1,200 acres in Creswell, Ore. They are one of only three dairies in Lane County.
Frost is currently board vice chair of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association and enjoys getting to know fellow dairy farmers around the state and lobbying on their behalf on issues that matter to the industry. She said most of their job is educating the public and the legislature about dairies and their practices. Ag overtime, water, animal welfare and manure management are among the issues they frequently address.
Working with ODFA requires time away from the dairy, but Bobbi says she gets lots of help from her family.
“Every generation of the family that has come before me has prioritized being active in our community and in the industry,” Frost said. “My grandparents and parents all do whatever they can to help me with my kids and my responsibilities on the farm; I absolutely couldn’t do it without them.”
The dairy also participates in Oregon AgLink’s Adopt a Farmer program, visiting classrooms and hosting schoolchildren at the dairy.
“It’s such a worthwhile experience and we do our best to make sense of what goes on here to the kids,” Frost said.
When Bobbi’s husband, Patrick Frost, joined the farm after getting out of the military, he took on the farming aspect of things.
“He’d never been on a farm before and he fell in love with it,” Bobbi said. “That part of our business has gotten much more efficient and better now that we have someone dedicated to it and it allows my dad and I to focus on the dairy.”
While Bobbi owns the dairy with her parents, Max and Cindy Harrold, the farm is populated by four generations. Both her grandfather and great-uncle are on the farm almost daily despite “retiring” many years ago, and her girls are growing up in the family tradition.
“We were laughing last year,” she said. “My girls like to ride with me when we harvest crops so there were lots of afternoons where there were four generations of us out there in the field together.”