Jun 21st 2021 | Molly Crager
From debunking mainstream dairy-farming myths to giving followers a glimpse into everyday life on the farm, Hilltop Dairy in Southeast Iowa uses their social media presence to educate their followers and inspire others to “ask a farmer” questions about produce and animal agriculture. We recently caught up with Madison Roth, the fourth generation of her family to work on the farm, to find out more about their family business.
From farm to table: a family-run labor of love
Dairy farming has always been in the Hilltop Dairy family. Starting out over four generations ago raising cows, hogs, chickens, crops. (and kids!), it’s now home to 180 dairy cows.
Doug Roth, third generation, practically grew up in the barn. At the tender age of four, he would go and help his dad, Larry, milk by walking the cows into the parlor. After Larry had some health issues, Doug and his brother would milk morning and night before and after school to keep the dairy running.
Dairy farming is certainly in the family DNA. Doug’s daughter, Madison, went to Iowa State and majored in Dairy Science, returning home to farm in 2017. For Madi, farming is tradition, and she couldn’t see herself being happy at any other job. Being home on the farm also gives her the opportunity to work alongside her dad and grandpa everyday, and raise her kids - the future fifth generation - on the farm.
Located in Southeast Iowa, Hilltop Dairy is the only non-Amish dairy farm in the county priding itself on its ability to farm crops used for feeding their own herd. Growing rye, corn, beans, and sorghum, the farm only purchases essential items such as hay and vitamins. As well as reaching out to the public via their social media platform, the farm also opens its doors for the annual Dairy Days Event in June each year. Welcoming people from all across the state, the farm uses these days to educate consumers about their products, how to farm for your own food, and even invites people to join the ice-cream eating competition!
Madi’s favorite things about farming
Madi tells us that, “Of course, working with family is my favorite part of being in the dairy industry, but our industry is lucky to calve year round. I love that I get to watch life be born and raise them from 100lbs to 1600lbs. You build a sense of trust with these animals while you care for them. It does have its challenges, but it helps you grow as a person and teaches you for the next time.”
Madi often treats her social media followers to glimpses of how the calves are progressing, what the heifers are enjoying eating and general information on everyday farming practices.
Quality workwear for hard working farmers
As Hilltop Dairy is one of our treasured KEY Apparel partners, we asked Madi about the importance of quality workwear when farming, and what aspects of the clothes she wears for work are the most important when it comes to the design.
Madi revealed that, “Being in the agricultural industry, it is very important to have good quality materials that will last! Especially working around machinery PTOs, you want to have clothes that are safe to be in.” She also went on to say that as she works with lots of water and manure when in the milking parlor, warm, waterproof workwear is absolutely essential to avoid getting cold.
“KEY clothing is very durable! I have my share of old and snagged sweatshirts from other companies, but I don’t trust them around equipment. KEY clothes stand up to the elements and keep me warm in the windy Iowa winters.”
When it comes to the products Madi recommends, she was quick to confirm that our sweatshirts offer a great fit and comfortable warmth whilst also staying stylish. She also chooses the six panel snapback for keeping stray hair out of the way on those windy harvest days and keeping cool under the summer sun.
When she’s not educating and entertaining on social media, Madi is all about spending time with her family and running, and hopes to complete another half-marathon soon. You can follow Madi and Hilltop Dairy on Instagram @hilltopdairyinc.