The milk glass of dairy farm wife, mom and enthusiast Becky Bode of Bode Dairy and Feedlots Company in Gibbon, Minnesota, is overflowing with gratitude this holiday season. This mother of three loves her life and is thankful it includes working side-by-side with her husband, Arlen, who manages the dairy, and her two sons, Brandon and Cody.
In 1954, Bode Dairy had its debut with Melvin and Lois Bode at the reins, and their sons, Arlen and Vance, who worked their whole life on the family dairy farm, formed a family corporation called Bode Dairy and Feedlots Co. in 1993. Shortly after, they built a milking parlor and free-stall barn and today Bode Dairy is home to 475 cows and is in the process of expanding to 800 head.
Family members share responsibilities and are the main ingredient in the success of this multiple-generation farm. Arlen manages the dairy, while Vance manages the crops; Lois does the books, while Melvin feeds the baby bull calves, and the wives and children are involved in various capacities at the farm. Brandon feeds the heifer calves with the automated calf feeder and Cody feeds the remaining heifers and cows. Becky’s role at the family dairy is conducting the farm’s payroll, scheduling, employee relations and she assists with the field work.
Becky also appreciates that she doesn’t have to work full-time off the farm. “I love being able to see my husband and sons anytime during the day, working beside them doing various things,” she says. This year she’s even more grateful, as she gained a son-in-law, Jon, who also happens to be a dairy farmer, and her son Brandon recently became engaged. “How awesome is that,” she replies. And, in August, her milk cup overfilled with love, appreciation and thankfulness, as she became a grandmother for the first time.
And, obviously for this dairy mom, this Thanksgiving will be extra special with new family members to gather around Becky’s dinner table, one that’s been known to seat nearly 30 people for this special holiday. “It’s our family’s favorite holiday. We love that we can get together with family and friends and whoever doesn’t have a place to go, enjoy a great meal, share things that we are thankful for and just enjoy each other’s company.”
Becky smiles thinking back eight years ago at Thanksgiving when she invited a friend, who hoped she could see a calf being born for the first time. Well, her friend’s wish more than came true that day. “We had seven baby calves born in one day, including one set of twins,” says Becky. “It was a Thanksgiving to be remembered.”
And, generally after the family has eaten, they break out the Black Friday ads and plan their shopping list for the next holiday. However, this year Becky is looking forward to her new role as grandma, and will stay home snuggling up with grandson, Griffin, and count all of the many blessings that make her one thankful dairy mom.