“I have always known the farm was where I wanted to be.”
That’s how Brooke Engelman describes her path from her home farm in Diller, through college in Beatrice and eventually her marriage to Adam, a dairy farmer she had known since pre-school. Their three children are the fifth generation of dairy farmers at Classic Dairy, Inc., near Jansen.
Together, the three families at Classic Dairy care for 950 dairy cows whose milk is made into butter at West Point. Each day, she plays a role in bringing alive the farm’s mission statement: producing affordable, nutritious milk.
“I love God, my family and farming,” is the description Engelman uses for her Twitter handle, @BrookeEngelman. The statement plays out each day on the farm, where she is involved in the tasks that result in abundant crops and healthy cows. Part of her passion for the work comes from watching her children, ages 10, seven and four, include farm activities with their other involvements– 4-H, church and school.
But it’s also about knowing good food comes from doing things right from the beginning; comfortable and healthy cows make wholesome milk. As the family expanded the farm to include new generations, they were able to add better barns that include such special cow-friendly features as sand bedding, fans and sprinklers. “We care for our cows because we care about them,” Engelman explains.
Helping people understand that commitment has motivated Engelman to share her story online in places like Twitter and a blog found at becomeafan.org. She wants people to know milk is never touched by human hands from the time it leaves the cow to when it’s in a package. She takes pride in knowing cleanliness at the dairy (everything in the milking facility is completely washed twice a day) contributes directly to safe food.
The Engelman family also takes a real interest in where their milk ends up. The butter made from Classic Dairy’s milk is made into the small ‘pats’ of butter found in restaurants, and they are constantly looking for it when they’re out and about. “Even when it’s from somewhere else, we know it came from dairy farmers like us,” Engelman says. But often, the little golden packages can be linked right back to their farm. “And we’re very proud about that!” she adds.