Q&A: Julie Hicks

Written by Marjie Knust
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Julie Hicks, Northeast Area delegate
Hicks Dairy Farm
Corinth, Maine

Although she’s only spent the past five years of her life on a dairy farm, Julie Hicks is passionate about the industry.

“I love it,” she says. “I wish I’d been doing this my entire life.”

Julie and her husband, Terry, milk 150 cows at Hicks Dairy Farm in Corinth, Maine. When they married in 2011, Julie took on the role of assistant herd manager and jumped into dairy farming headfirst. She also took an active role in Dairy Farmers of America, and began serving as a delegate two years ago. As a delegate, Julie plays a critical role during DFA’s resolutions process, voting on proposed resolutions each year at DFA’s Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Mo.

Why do you think it’s important to be part of a cooperative like DFA?

Part of what I like about the farm is being a part of that heritage and the family values that are built into that. And that’s what I like about DFA too. They appreciate family and family values.

It’s like a built-in support system. Anybody with a farm these days needs a support system, and DFA provides that. There are so many resources available from risk management and supplies to just people who can answer your questions. There are so many more benefits than just having someone to handle your milk.

I’ve had nothing but positive interactions with DFA, at all levels of the Cooperative. I don’t think it’s normal in other cooperatives to be able to talk to executives about your farm, but in DFA, you can talk to anyone and get answers or help with what you need. Everyone’s equal, and everyone has a voice.

Why did you decide to be a delegate?

Well, I’m not sure I decided to be. I was nominated for the job by two other producers, and when they called and asked if I could do it, I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m fairly new to the industry. Most of these other guys have been dairying their whole lives. But our field representative, Clayton Davis, came and talked to me about what it would entail and told me that he thought I’d be good and able to stand up and say something if something needed said. So, I said yes.

I’ve received a lot of support from other delegates in my Area. They have really helped me and answered my questions and given me a lot of guidance.

What is the role of a delegate?

I think it’s important to voice your opinion on issues. It helps to bring different perspectives to issues. I also think it’s important to remember that when the Cooperative makes a decision, it’s in the best interest of all of its members, not just a certain group of farmers. And it’s important to remember that when voting or discussing issues.
I also think part of being a delegate is to advocate for DFA, which I would do even if I wasn’t a delegate.