Friday, June 23, 2017

"Meet the Lady Cowculators" - Bovina Dairying Pioneer Beatrice Thomson

Seventy-five years ago, a Bovina woman was becoming a pioneer in the dairying industry. The newsletter of the American Dairy Herd Improvement Association, in its June 1942 issue, reported on its front page that "Women Fight Too!" The article noted that "There are fighters on the home front too, and none are more intrepid than the women who are stepping in to fill the gaps left by men who have gone to the service." Later in the newsletter was a page devoted to several women in the country who were becoming milk testers. Bovina's own Beatrice Thomson was one of the women featured. A life long resident of Bovina, she grew up on the Thomson farm on Pink Street. She had "recently graduated from the New York Agricultural College where she completed the Dairy-Commercial testing course that trained her in butterfat testing...." Here's the clipping from that newsletter about Bea.

Here's a clipping from the August 6, 1942 Waterville (NY) Times about "girl cowtesters," including Bea:

Bea continued to work at the Bovina creamery, later becoming the plant manager, until its closing in 1973. The Oneonta Daily Star in June 1968 had a short article by Jack Damgaard about the Bovina Center Coop Dairy and noted that "we are that we have a lady plant manager...." Here she is on the last day at the creamery.
Photo by Betty Elliott
After the closing of the Bovina creamery, Bea worked for Dellwood in Frasers as the bookkeeper, retiring from there in 1983. She died in 1986 at the age of 68 and is buried in the Bovina cemetery. 

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