Olga Pantielieienko, an agriculture graduate from Ukraine is currently training at Johnson’s Dairy Farm in rural Minnesota. Olga assists with many of the day-to-day activities of the operation including milking, cleaning, washing and feeding baby calves all starting at 5 A.M. “The dairy operation has close to 140 milking cows, close to 100 heifers, and between 20-25 babies,” Olga said. “It has been a great experience to come to the United States to see the differences of how businesses operate here in America and I am really glad that I am here. My host is always open to discuss and explain things about the operation and how and why things are done. He is very easy-going, patient and makes a lot of jokes! It makes it easy to train and learn when your host is like this,” Olga said.
I had many different goals when I came here such as working and learning how to make a farming organization better. I had goals to visit some places in the United States. And of course, I had goals to explore the culture. I have heard and seen a lot about the United States. It has been interesting to see what it is really like compared to what I have heard and seen on the television and the movies,” Olga explained.
“After graduation from my university in Ukraine, I went to Denmark to work on a dairy farm there as well before coming to the United States. It has been interesting to see the differences between the management operation styles between all the different farms I worked at.” Olga explained that she has learned many new farming techniques during her training program such as breeding, feeding, how to better manage baby calves, and how to run a successful and more organized operation. “My host Brad has taught me how to operate a John Deere tractor and Bobcat also! I found there is more stability here in the United States. You can loan money here to improve your farming operation, unlike Ukraine you can’t be sure if the money will be there.”
Olga also completed her first 5K running race during her time in Minnesota. “When I came to America, I saw how popular running was so I said why not to try! And I enjoyed it!”
“The people are so friendly in Minnesota! My host family is also very friendly. I have spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with them and have attended many of my hosts daughter’s volleyball games and Sunday school classes that she teaches. It was interesting to see these things.” Olga also participated in her host family’s annual Thanksgiving lefse party! “I had no idea what lefse (Norwegian traditional food) was and it was really good. Plus it was fun to be with the whole family. So many wonderful moments on that day and I am really happy that I was able to spend time with these amazing people!