Israel and Fernando: a Father-Son Dairy Dream Team

Israel came to the US from Guadalajara looking for more opportunity.

He grew up on a small Mexican farm and has loved cows from an early age. Little did he know, his passion for cows would lead to a rewarding career in the Washington dairy community.

When he moved to Washington State in 1996, he started working at Chris Doelman’s dairy farm in Olympia. Over the past 20 years, Israel has experienced many different aspects of the farm, from working in the milking parlor to raising calves. Recently, he has been promoted to managing herd health and breeding. He also has a sixth sense when it comes to herd health. Israel can tell when a cow is feeling under the weather, just by looking at her face and demeanor.

But his skillset isn’t purely supernatural—it’s scientific too. He is currently training under a veterinarian, learning new techniques and technologies in the area of genetics and artificial insemination. When asked how best to get to know Israel, Doelman recommended his employee be put in his most comfortable and relaxed state, surrounded by his cows; “the girls”.

“I take a lot of pride in caring for the cows,” Israel says. “I want to keep learning and improving my skills so working one-on-one with the veterinarian has been really exciting.”

Israel has passed down his love of dairy farming to his oldest son, 19-year-old Fernando. The father-son duo have created a lifetime of memories working together in this industry. Fernando works part-time on the farm while he pursues a degree in automotive technology at South Puget Sound Community College.  But what Israel is most proud of is his son: Fernando is the first person in their family to attend college.

“Some of my favorite memories are from my childhood when I used to get to come to work at the farm with my dad,” Fernando says. “My dad taught me everything I know about work ethic and he’s the reason I work so hard and I’m at where I am today.”

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