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Stepping aside

From the Farm

March 30, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

Sometimes a person has to push a personal goal aside in order for another person to reach his or her goals.

I am not so sure I could give up a dream in order for a casual acquaintance to reach his or her goal, but there is one person on this planet for who I would graciously step aside, and revel in his achieving a goal.

That one person is my hubby Steve.

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Kerry Hoffman

He has finally reached one of his goals and was officially seated on the board of directors of Associated Milk Producers, Inc., at the beginning of this week. He's now on the board for a farmer-owned cooperative and represents farmers who work hard day after day to work with cows to produce milk.

As his wife I couldn't be more proud of him. Steve is the one person that has taught me how to be a better person and I experience such pride when I see him using his God-given talents to make this world a better place for others. Whenever someone asks me who I look up to and go to for guidance, I never even hesitate to let them know that it's my husband.

Enough with the mushy stuff.

Having Steve be so involved in our cooperative also allows me the chance to stay at a very comfortable hotel in Bloomington and get away from those two creatures called sons.

For three days and two nights, Steve and I stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton, in Bloomington. The Annual AMPI meeting has been held there every year for many, many years.

Usually, when we stay at a hotel we have to adjust to scratchy bath towels I have to strategically place to avoid exposure, shampoo that froths less than the cup of Starbucks coffee sitting on the hotel desk next to the Book of Gideon's, and beds so hard even the cartoon character Plank would deem them unbearable.

At the Doubletree, we enjoyed big fluffy beds with comforters that felt like I wrapped myself in gigantic Q-tips. The miniature bottles contained shampoo that rivals the foamy hair wash my beautician Rachel uses on my hair and towels that actually wrap around my entire body!

Now that is a generous towel!

Even though there were a few glitches in our stay - a thermostat that didn't work and a party next door - the hotel was very accommodating to fix the issues.

Steve and I don't attend just for the comfort; we also attend for the education. We learn so much about the dairy industry as a whole and about our cooperative. Plus we get to visit with friends we have met from throughout the Upper Midwest. Because all of us there are dairy farmers, there is always something to talk about. Producers with just 40 cows get together with producers that have more than 1,000 cows.

This year, one of the presenters was Dr. David Kohl, an economist who seems to have his finger on the pulse of the agricultural community. I know, I know, when a person hears that an economist is going to speak, he or she thinks, "Wow, maybe I can get a nap in during that discussion."

But this guy makes it so interesting; even I stayed in the room and kept notes of his discussion. He doesn't paint an imaginary picture resembling The Scream by Edvard Munch; he paints a picture like Francois Millet, a realistic painter than created The Gleaners in 1867.

After Kohl's presentation, a person can walk out of the meeting room feeling good about the choices that need to be made concerning his or her dairy operation.

It's good to get away from the farm to learn about whom or what is making the world of agriculture move, but it's also good to return home to put our new knowledge to use.

It's also good to get home and crawl into my own bed and not have to worry about whether there is going to be a party next door or if the thermostat going to go haywire and keep my bedroom at 80 degrees.

Besides, when we return home everyone is glad to see us again and interested in how Steve fared at his first meeting as a corporate board member.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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