Day in the Life
Cathleen | Tulip Pond Farm — Maryland
Meet Cathleen- A Girl and Her Tractor
A massive red tractor rolls across the field at Tulip Pond Farm on a fall afternoon as it preps the soil to get ready to plant cover crops for spring. When it parks, out jumps Cathleen, a local Maola Maryland family farmer. At first glance, Cathleen may not be the first person you would expect to see behind such a large machine, but she proves every day that girl power can fuel more than you think.
Cathleen grew up on a dairy farm with her parents, Carole and David, and her sister Carissa. She took to dairy farming naturally after helping around the farm as a child and decided to continue the legacy by becoming a 4th generation farmer. After completing a business degree in college, Cathleen decided the office life was not for her, and took on a role at Tulip Pond. She believes there is a bright future for women in agricultural research and dairy. Her parents, Carole and David, also grew up on farms, specializing in dairy. The couple decided to settle in Maryland in the mid-1980s to start Tulip Pond Farm. As one of the younger farmers in the community, Cathleen’s hard work and dedication makes her mother, Carole, hopeful that dairy farming is in good hands.
One of Cathleen’s primary duties on the farm is to plant cover crops, which helps to improve soil health on the farm for future use, as well as manage soil erosion. Maintaining soil health is a critical part of dairy farming, as it is used to grow crops for cow feed, bedding, and more. The right tractor goes a long way in effectively doing her job, and so for Cathleen, investing in a tractor was not a hasty decision. Features such as auto-drive technology, the ability to see crops digitally planted, and ensuring the tractor had enough horsepower to cover the ground needed were key. These features allow her to work for effectively, cutting some of the manual labor needed to maintain soil health. Cathleen agreed that it’s just like buying a car: “You look at cost, horsepower, and if it covers what you need for the purpose.”
When asked about the future of farming she believes that the family part of it is never going to go away. She believes that family and the passion for farming in the community are the thread of the industry. Not only is she passionate about farming, but she’s also passionate about cows. “They’re my life. I’d rather work with cows than people,” says Cathleen. “I wake up every day at 4 o’clock and love on my cows.”
Named one of Frederick County’s Top Under 40 Agricultural Professionals in 2021, Cathleen is proof that women can not only be successful farmers but can also impact their communities and push the envelope with innovative technology that helps to better the land for generations to come.