Women in Dairy: Liza Schlintz


Liza Schlintz
Bangor, Wisconsin
La Crosse County
60 cows

Tell us about your family and farm. My husband, AJ, and I live on his family’s 101-year-old farm purchased by his great-grandfather, Alfred Schlintz, from the salary he earned fighting in World War I. His grandfather, Stanley, added several smaller farms to make up the landmass that it is today. Our children, Avery and Ayla, are the fifth generation of Schlintzes to milk cows in the dairy barn, which was built shortly after Alfred purchased the land in 1923. We own just over 300 acres in La Crosse County. We milk in the double-8 parlor which was installed in the original milking barn in 2015 — the same year that we built the freestall barn. We now milk our 60 cows without any hired help. AJ has always wanted to farm. My goal was always to work off the farm but provide occasional labor and support our family farm by working a more traditional job off the dairy. I worked a career as a loan officer in banking for over a decade until recently when I decided to leap back into my agricultural roots and take up a dream job with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, our dairy checkoff, as the advocate and voice for our Wisconsin dairy farmers.

What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? My day starts like many farm parents, getting the kids ready for the day with a giant cup of coffee in my hand — the milking pump gently humming in the background while AJ takes care of our ladies in the barn. I sit down to my computer shortly after, jumping in to accomplish countless tasks for Wisconsin’s dairy farmers. This might include making sure that any active dairy farmers who are hosting tours have the supplies they need or who are hosting media interviews look, feel and sound their best so that they can represent our entire industry with as much pride, strong messages and confidence as we can deliver to share dairy’s good news with consumers. On the days I travel to farms or meetings, I do my best to get the kids off to a good start and be sure the schedule is clearly updated so that everyone knows what’s going on before I leave for the day. AJ is a fantastic dad who juggles all that happens on the farm while still making sure the kids make it to soccer games, band practices and everything else that comes with having involved farm kids in today’s fast-paced world. Thank goodness for good neighbors and family who pitch in when they can.

What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? Now that I’m traveling to different farms to assist with sharing our farmers’ stories with consumers in various ways, I get to see so many different operations and the way that farmers overcome obstacles in their own ways. Farmers are innovative and intelligent in so many ways, so bringing some of that home to utilize on our own dairy has been great! From these observations, we recently converted an underutilized machine shed into youngstock housing, which has allowed us to focus on raising better replacements.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. Having the privilege to be a part of AJ’s family’s century farm legacy has been an honor for me. I come from generations of dairy farmers myself, but to be part of the legacy that his family has carried on is one that I don’t take for granted. When I can contribute to everyday tasks like feeding calves with our kids or driving the Massey 294 that I grew up using on my dad’s farm, I always feel like I’m just where I was meant to be.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? My greatest enjoyment from being a Woman in Dairy is the pride I feel for an industry that can give back so much as it can occasionally take. We as dairy farmers don’t farm because we’re looking to get rich quick; we do it because it’s a lifestyle that ties us to the land and animals that we love. Choosing to be a conventional farmer is what’s right for my family, but as an organic farmer’s granddaughter, I feel pride for what those operations can accomplish for their markets. Options are valuable and are equally important to today’s consumer. We’re feeding the world a delicious, nutrient-rich, versatile product that has endless possibilities for feeding today’s non-farming families.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? My biggest professional accomplishment is being hired at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Carrying on the legacy of the Schlintz Family Dairy Farm is one that I take great pride in. Most recently, I have had the opportunity to share short videos spotlighting the stories of a few of our local La Crosse County farms on social media to promote our La Crosse County Dairy Breakfast taking place on June 15th at our local fairgrounds.

What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? This is my wheelhouse! Before working for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, I was active in local county dairy promotions via our dairy breakfast and dairy promotions groups and shared my farm’s story via social media. I frequently shared my farm’s story with those in my community via my career in banking and was active in our dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America. Additionally, I have remained active in my FFA alumni group, which has always held a special place in my heart.

What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? Every individual has a story, and every story is important. Finding ways that you feel comfortable sharing that story will be unique to every individual. Prior to being a full-time dairy advocate, I was afraid that I would say the wrong thing or encounter a question I couldn’t answer, so it was easier to stay in my own corner of the world and mind my own business. Today’s consumer is demanding more of us as dairy farmers. Everyone has the ability to advocate for our industry at a level and in a way that’s comfortable for them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; even having a conversation with a friend who isn’t a farmer can have a bigger impact than you think. I am here to help farmers with that as well.

What is a challenge in the dairy industry you have faced and how did you overcome it? In my career in banking, as I moved up the career ladder, I found that I moved further and further away from agriculture and therefore dairy. I didn’t feel like my peers in the lending community understood our industry to the extent that was needed to allow for the access to capital that our farms need to grow and be successful. I began spending time talking about the importance that dairy farming has in our communities and the opportunities it creates. I brought friends and family out to the farm and had discussions about the misconceptions about our industry. I talked about the truths that we as farmers know about but that the general population doesn’t understand. I listened to the worries and concerns that my friends had about where their food was coming from and helped them understand the care that farmers take for their land and animals. We as farmers take much of this for granted. We must take the time to listen and to educate. Somehow, along the way, I have found the ability to take these efforts to the next level and help others to do the same.

When you get a spare moment, what do you do? I’ve always loved to learn via experiences. I take opportunities to experience and explore the world around me. Now that my kids are getting older, I’m involving them in those experiences as often as possible. While getting away as a family is difficult without hiring help on the dairy, we can still grow together via hosting international exchange students or taking smaller vacations when time and finances allow.


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