Adventures With Family: On and Off the Farm
It takes some serious devotion — and an even keel — to balance work and family. Tyler Ribeiro’s got it.
The Tulare, California, dairy farmer works with his father, brother and a staff of 20 people on a farm that’s within a mile of where he lives with his wife, sons aged 5 and 3, and brand-new baby girl. When we spoke earlier this month, this fourth-generation farmer was in the middle of remodeling part of his house in anticipation of the baby.
His own childhood was all about being close to his family as they worked on the farm. At age 8, he was driving a Mac truck, and he learned to weld as soon as the helmet fit his head.
“If my grandfather thought that I could do something, they gave me a shot at it. I was free labor,” Ribeiro recalls.
Read on to get to know this California dairy farmer and his devotion to dairy:
What is your earliest memory of dairy?
My earliest memories circle around my Dad. My Dad would take me out quite often when I was really young. We wouldn’t do anything extravagant or important, but I got to see cows and things that a little boy doesn’t usually see. For me, just spending time with him was special to me. My father and my grandfather made it a point to educate me in anything they could think of. I was driving a Mac truck by the time I was 8.
What gets you most excited about dairy?
I get excited by change. I love to learn and I love to teach, and the dairy industry is constantly changing, and we have to adapt to that. It’s not always in our favor, but it’s exciting. I’m able to learn new things and apply them, and I get excited when things work. I get to give tours of the dairy, and I get excited to teach people. I’m easily amused.
Which living person do you most admire?
That one’s hard … I don’t know. I guess it wouldn’t be a single person. If it was, I’d say my wife and not just because I’m looking for brownie points. She deals with having a dairy farmer for a husband — we work long hours, we’re not sure if we can make certain events, we might not make it to dinner. My wife has patience for me. I’ll come home broken and bleeding and starving and in a bad mood and she’s ready to deal with me. And she’s a stay-at-home mom, that’s no joke.
When and where are you happiest?
I love seeing my boys learn new things and have new experiences. I enjoy taking the family to ride motorcycles, go shooting, visit the beach, the mountains, and go rock climbing whether it be on foot or by jeep. Me and my boys go crazy for stuff like that. I love spending time with my kids and my wife, it doesn’t matter where we’re at.
What is your current state of mind?
I just got asked to be on a panel for how to deal with stress… [laughs] Right now, basically on everything, my feelings have been steady. I’m always content but not complacent, and I’m cautiously optimistic.
What do you appreciate most in your friends?
They’re understanding. Not all my friends are in farming or dairy. They all have different professions and they understand that I can’t always make it to everything, especially right now. I’m crazy busy. My friends keep me accountable, though. They check in on me and see how things are going, and I do the same for them. We’ve all got each other’s back, no matter what it is.