Jonathon Juedes and his two brothers, Joe and Jacob, work a third-generation dairy farm in the heart of Wisconsin. They know what it means to work hard, and the cows don't stop needing care when the weather is bad or equipment breaks. Hear from Jon's point of view about what working on a dairy farm entails and what keeps him motivated through tough times and makes him excited for the future.
First & Last Name: Jonathon Juedes
Location: We live on a dairy farm, Pleasant View Dairy, East of Wausau, Wisconsin.
Style of Boot
The style of Thorogoods I wear most is very dependent on the season and the task at hand. I really love the steel toe work boots for the heavy lifting jobs on the farm. I've had many black and blue toes trying to life and carry items, just for them to slip out of my hands and smash a toe. For the wetter, chilly months of spring and fall, I love the neoprene boots. The worst feeling you can have is wet feet, and the waterproof boots help keep my feet dry as the April showers bring May flowers.
What I do
We have a dairy farm, so we milk and take care of cows. This can range from feeding them, cleaning their living spaces, and of course milking them. Each part is very intricate and requires many different tools and pieces of equipment.
For me personally, it's a few things. First and foremost, the love of the lifestyle and the challenges it brings. I enjoy being a hard-working young man who contributes to feeding the world. Secondly, I love animals – the ability to work with cows every day is unmatched. Thirdly, I love the ability to work for myself and have the prospect of owning land in the future.
I love Thorogood boots because the secret behind every hard-working person is the feet that carry them through the day. The ability to keep my feet dry and warm—and keep my toes protected—gives me peace of mind. Plus, it's amazing how useful steel toes are. The ability to kick things and not hurt your feet can come in handy.
How Did I Get Started
We got started in the industry when our great-grandparents settled here and built this barn over 125 years ago. Our father, James, kept the farm going over 25 years, and it's in a position to keep going into the future. Many improvements have been made over the years. From the new buildings to new and improved equipment, genetics, technology, and even renovating the barn inside and out.
The struggles have been plenty, most notably around the 2008 recession, to even dealing with inflation nowadays. A family farm can really stress relationships with family and friends, and it's a lot of headaches. Steps have been taken to help make life easier and gain more freedom in hopes of strengthening relationships. In the end, I believe growing up on a farm together really helped bring us three brothers together. Somedays, it’s more about the belief we have in ourselves and one another more so than anything else. When the money isn’t good, the economy is down, it's important to have family you know you can lean on, and that's what has gotten us this far.
My advice for anyone looking to get into the industry is to have a plan and the necessary means to carry out that plan, with enough extra (time, money, etc.) to account for everything that goes wrong. Farming is a large example of Murphy's Law, "anything that can go wrong, will." That’s why its important to cross your T's and dot your I's when making a plan. Secondly, make sure you have people, like my two brothers, that you know you can lean on, because when times get tough, I know they’ll be there. Finally, never give up. Somedays it’ll be tough, when equipment breaks down, and cows get sick, but perseverance is what separates the winners from the losers in life. The ability to push forward is something that will always be needed in this industry.