The Milk Tanker Driver

Thorsten von Aschwege loves his job – though he used to be a farmer, a profession he loved.

“I never thought the job of a milk tanker driver would be so demanding. When I first started at DMK, I was just happy to have a stable job and to do something worthwhile at the same time. Together with my managers at the Edewecht, I make sure the route is planned so it makes sense in terms of logistics and timing – which is an exciting challenge, especially when there are tra­c jams or snow blocks the roads. Sometimes it pushes you to your limits, like when you can only get to the farms where the roads are at least halfway clear of snow.

But apart from all the driving – I do about 65,000 kilometers a year – the many conversations I have with farmers are really important to me – though they can be pretty tough, too. I collect milk from 15 to 20 farms every day and really get to know a lot about how the farmers are doing and feeling. I’m the interface between dairy and the farms and I can understand their concerns, but at the same time I also understand DMK’s approach. That contact – not in the pandemic of course – gives me the chance to spend some time with them and listen to their problems, which eases things a bit.

“I felt like I’d been saved, caught by a net.”

I was a farmer myself, until a few years ago. I had to give it up after the milk crisis in 2015, when it was no longer economically viable to go on. I was passionate about farming and for a long time afterward I couldn’t go into a cowshed without feeling a deep sense of loss. They made it really easy for me to join DMK. I felt like I had been saved, caught by a net, as the job meant I could stay in touch with my colleagues, the farmers. In the driver’s cab I’m also my own boss and can be as entrepreneurial as a farmer. I decide how to optimize my tour, and I’m the one who sees directly what’s happening on the roads.

That means I can plan my costs and time more e­ciently. That spurs me on. What I’d like in the future is for society to have much more appreciation, respect and recognition for w what our farmers do and the services they provide. That means we all have to pull together and take the same approach.”

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