When Rocky and Liz Gingg started out in the dairy business, they had a tough decision to make. Build a house on the farm or live in the country club?
The then-Arizonans thought it over and talked it over quite a bit until one day Liz, a city girl from Tempe, asked her father-in-law what he thought.
Without hesitation, the second-generation dairyman said, “Well, the best thing for the kids is to be on the farm.”
“Life on the farm is a lot different than life in the city,” Liz says, looking back. “It’s a lot harder. It’s more bugs, more critters and nothing like the idealized view I had in my mind. But you can’t replace what it gives you. I have no regrets.”
And farm life must have had an impact on those kids — after all, daughter Crystal and her husband, Nathan, moved to Friona, Texas, to join her parents on the Del Rio Dairy about a year and a half ago. It’s something Rocky couldn’t be prouder of.
“It’s a dream come true,” the lifelong dairyman says. “You know, to have your own children involved in something you spent your life doing. Up until recently, I didn’t know if anyone was going to carry on where I’ve been. So I was really excited to have my daughter and her husband get involved.”
He says they’ve not only acclimated to the move and career change well, they’re doing an incredible job.
And it’s a job Nathan takes very seriously.
“What goes to your fridge also goes to my fridge,” he says, explaining the immense responsibility of a dairyman. “I don’t deviate what I’m feeding my children to what you’re feeding yours, and what goes in my cereal goes in your cereal. So, [milk quality] is very important to me.”
The former city boy turned dairy manager brings a strong business background to the farm, but says his favorite part is working with the animals. And like other dairymen, his No. 1 concern is the well-being of those cows.
“A cow that’s comfortable — a cow that’s well taken care of — is a valuable asset. You take care of her, she takes care of you. It’s a mutual relationship.”
On the Del Rio Dairy, like others, that means each of its 3,300 cows have ample shade, ample space and the ability to get to plenty of feed and fresh, clean water.
For Crystal, the dairy’s bookkeeper, her favorite part of the job is just being with her husband and family every day.
“It’s really neat because we are able to work every single day together,” she says. “I make my dad and husband lunch every day. I can bring our kids to work, too, and we can just be together and have fun together while we’re working.”
And that beats country club living any day in her book.