Amber Cafferty: From Calves to Career
Everyone has a moment when their life changes forever. For me, that was when my family moved to Wisconsin in 2004.
It was just before the end of first grade when my family was packing trucks and cattle trailers for the three-and-a-half-hour drive to our new home in Fountain City, Wisconsin. I vividly remember how family and friends joined us at our new home, helped us unpack boxes and unload the cows and calves. It was a bittersweet afternoon realizing we were moving away from family, but also a special day when my siblings and I each became the proud owners of one of the heifer calves that we brought with us. I was over the moon to be able to call that little Holstein heifer calf mine, and little did I know, she would be the start of my passion for agriculture.
In elementary and high school, my passion for agriculture led to my involvement with 4-H and FFA. I enjoyed showing dairy cattle at the county fair, serving as a local FFA officer and had the privilege to compete on our veterinary science team at the National FFA convention. It was in those moments that I realized my passion for agriculture could be turned into a career.
After high school, I went to college at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where I had internships at the Dairy Alliance and the Minnesota State Fair Competition Department. These experiences were invaluable in helping me to expand my practical knowledge and skills while honing in on what career opportunities I wanted to pursue in the future.
After graduating in 2019 with bachelor's degrees in Animal Science and Agricultural Communications and Marketing, I returned home to my family’s farm before accepting a full-time position with Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) as their marketing and development coordinator. I have the privilege to be part of an organization that provides the dairy community opportunities for continued learning and professional development.
I once spent most of my days feeding calves and milking cows. Now, I provide my insight on farm management decisions as we look toward the future of our dairy. While my role may look different, my passion for dairy and agriculture has never ceased. When I’m back on the farm, I enjoy sneaking in a few extra head scratches or bunches of grass to my cows and heifers that all started from one calf in 2004. It is with this passion that I am honored and excited about the opportunity to be Alice in Dairyland. I look forward to sharing the stories of the hardworking producers and processors, like my father and brother, and inspiring the next generation to become involved in Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture commodities.