Leah Hylkema’s Industry Profile

About Leah

Leah Hylkema is an Assistant Herd Supervisor/Herdsperson who works in the Fraser Valley. Leah works with family and other employees milking approximately 130 cows twice a day.

How Did You Get Involved In The Dairy Industry?

I started out helping on the farm at age 9 and have been developing skills and knowledge for over nine years.

What Are Some Of Your Tasks On A Typical Day?

Milking in a milking parlour. Prepping cows for milking, monitoring the operation, harvesting the milk. Operation of the equipment and keeping it clean. Cleaning activities around the stable, feeding, inspecting cattle for health problems and detecting estrous for breeding management. Work starts early am with an extended break mid day and afternoon milking. Work with calves include feeding new born calves, moving young stock, cleaning pens, checking for health problems. Outdoors during the growing season, activities include forage cutting, raking and baling involving the operation of tractors and implements such as cutters and large hay bale machines.

What Are Some Attractions And Benefits To Working In The Dairy Industry?

Flexibility in the work routine with time off during the day for personal activities – fits personal life commitments. Calm work, regular routines, follows natural rhythms, unstressful. Job is active with a chance to work outside when the weather is nice and when the weather is bad with cold and rain or snow, there is always a job inside. Working independently and taking care of the needs of the dairy cows and systems. Room to grow in knowledge and skill as dairy is always evolving in science and technology.

What Are Some Important Skills And Aptitudes Required In Your Job?

Handling cattle in many situations and maneuvering them around the barn and yard. Attention to detail, watching for signs of health problems, monitoring the animals. Animal handling, knowledge of animal care, machine operation and team work.

What Else Can You Tell Us About The Dairy Industry?

Those who work in successful and sustainable dairy farms tend to be very honest and humane and value cooperation, and community loyalty and participation. The dairy community often helps neighbours and the community in times of need. Providing milk and dairy products is a natural and fundamental industry. It supplies basic food to all people, which is always in demand. There is always a need. It is not cyclical such as forestry or other resource industry for example – it is steady and ongoing.