More than a Mom

Written by Peyson Shields

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure to make Mother’s Day an official holiday. For more than 100 years, those around the country — and the world — have celebrated their mother on the second Sunday in May.

Whether she was CEO of your home — or a large company — most of us wouldn’t be who we are today without the influence of “mom.” If there’s one thing mothers are good at, it’s taking on different roles while still being that sounding board for the entire family.

On DFA member farms, moms are doing just that. From owning a local boutique to coordinating farm tours to running the operation, these four moms are doing what they love with the same common ground — family.

Vintage Finds and Lovely Things

It all started with Coca-Cola memorabilia, says Crystal Moroney who started her own collection of bottles in the fifth grade.

“My mom has always had a love for antiques — I always remember going to auctions and stores.”

From there, she was hooked.

Growing up on a dairy in Arizona, Crystal’s parents, Rocky and Liz Gingg, moved their operation, Del Rio Dairy, from Arizona to Friona, Texas, in 2005. The 4,000-cow operation is run by Rocky, Crystal’s husband, Nathan, and her brother-in-law, Garth Cummings. Crystal works with her mother and sister, Heidi, in the office, handling the books.

But being on the dairy wasn’t enough for the women of the family. Three years ago, they opened Milk House Market — just a few miles from the dairy.

“In Texas, there’s a lot of junk,” Crystal says. “There would be a barn that would just sit empty for years, so my mom and I started hoarding it.”

Crystal says the store soon transitioned from housing antique finds to farmhouse décor. The market has not only been a way for Crystal and her family to do what they love, but also helped integrate them into a new town.

“It’s not just having the store, it’s about developing relationships and being a part of the community,” she says.

A mom to three kids, sons Nathan Jr., 7, and Maxwell, 6, and daughter Ruby, 3, Crystal stays busy on the dairy, at her store and handling everyday mom duties.

“The dairy is my number one priority and the store fits into my schedule,” she says. “The kids see me working at the store and dairy and all of us working together as a family. They work in the store during the summer checking out customers. They think it’s fun.”

Crystal says the toughest part of being involved in so many things is balancing family, quality time with her husband and work.

“I love working with my husband, dad and family,” Crystal says. “It has its challenges, but is always fun.”

The Heart of Teaching

For Ranell Rexing, teaching has always been her passion. So when she and her husband, Brian, decided to take the leap and open a 1,200-cow dairy, Ranell knew she wanted education to play a large role.

As an elementary school teacher, Ranell was always looking for educational field trips.

“We actually built the dairy for tours,” she says. 

From the ground up, Next Generation Dairy in Owensville, Ind., became the Rexings’ livelihood — and Ranell’s dream of sharing that with the community is now the family’s reality. Designed with education in mind, the farm’s milking parlor features an observation deck where visitors can see how daily operations are handled.