Cattle queen milks career path out of lifelong passion

More than 30,000 gallons of milk are generated daily at El-Vi Farms, where senior Emma Andrew and her family’s 2,700 cows call home. Andrew’s father is one of five partners at the Newark, N.Y. farm. When Andrew was born, El-Vi kept 500 milk cows, but the farm has expanded since, housing 1,150 milk cows with an additional 1,550 cattle, mostly baby cows and young heifers.

At Geneseo, Andrew is still among cows, and she works at Mikelholm Holsteins Farms outside of Pavilion, N.Y. at least three times a week. Typically Andrew milks the cows, but not by hand. She preps the cows’ udders, cleans them and puts them on the milking unit. She also takes care of the cows’ general health and nutrition as well as baby calves.

Andrew owns 30 of her own head of cattle at El-Vi, but as graduation looms, Andrew may say goodbye to them. Her relationship to her cows is “kind of like a pet with benefits or mixing business with pleasure,” she said.

“I love my cows and I love to show them but I can sell them and pay my tuition at the same time,” she said.

If Andrew does sell, she plans to always co-own or board her animals somewhere.

“I like the aspect of owning animals, being on farms and like breeding my animals and then showing them … just to stay attached like that to the whole dairy-side of things,” she said.

Andrew has lived on El-Vi her entire life, and it was there where she learned to manage the farm and of course, milk the cows. Milking is so easy and mindless for Andrew, but breeding and showing the cows is more enjoyable for her.

She has participated in various regional, state and international shows. Her greatest goal is to show a cow at the World Dairy Expo. The Supreme Champion at the Expo is “is the end all, be all,” in the showing world, she said.

Zoe Finn/Photo Editor

She also served as the 2012-2013 New York State Dairy Princess and was named the New York State Holstein Association Distinguished Junior Member. Andrew joined the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Food Advocacy Network, a leadership and outreach program for young farmers ages 18-30. She was selected as one of the four delegates to represent New York at the Capitol for agriculture days, which included opportunities to discuss concerns and changes to legislators.

“I get involved somehow,” Andrew said. “People find me. That’s kind of nice though because it’s gotten to the point that I’ve obviously done a lot so people know me, and now people will come to me and ask, ‘Hey, can you come do this for me? Hey, can you do that?’”

Andrew, a communication major, is looking to combine her studies with her lifestyle in her imminent professional career. She is looking into agriculture advertising before moving onto milk marketing and promotion specifically.

While she is unsure if she wants to work for one dairy company, such as Chobani, or go down “the nonbias route” and work for the ADADC to promote agriculture and nutrition, she will continue to share “how I grew up on a farm and what it means to be a farmer, how … being a farmer helps me educate people and that’s my passion and how [children] can find their passion and how they can use it to educate people, too.”

Zoe Finn/Photo Editor