Monday, July 16, 2018

There's Always A Project On The Farm

Try as hard as possible, and there's still always something that needs doing. There is always a project waiting to be accomplished, a task to be completed, a correction or update that needs to be tweaked. 

I am a list maker, but I often find when I cross something off the list when it is finished, I replace it with two more things. Does anyone else do that?

One of our most recent items ticked off the list was reorganizing the workroom in our calf barn. This is the room where we store the supplies for our daily calf chores. We previously had wooden shelves which were difficult to keep clean, and also tough to keep dry. They were replaced by these new shelves. The storage boxes keep items clean and organized.

The red and black buckets are washed, and used to feed milk to the young calves. We have enough pails so that they are rotated to allow each calf to have a fresh, clean pail, while these are drying. Since this photo was taken, the trim was added around the window, which overlooks the calf area.

Another project to check off the list was some updating to the milking barn. The ceiling in our milking area was originally made of wood. Keeping it dry and painted was quite a task. It is now covered with glass board, an easy to maintain ceiling material.

Glass board ready to be cut.
Our carpenters had to be sure-footed as they balanced above the "pit" to reach the ceiling. The pit is the area we stand when we are milking so we are lower than the cows, and at the right level to attach the milking machines.

"Walking the Plank"
If you look closely at the next picture you can see the new ceiling on the left, and the old on the right. When the ceiling was complete, we added new energy efficient lighting too. Just another stop on the sustainability path we take.

Our dairy barn is inspected at least twice a year to be sure we are producing a clean, safe product for you and your family. This easy to maintain ceiling is just another way we accomplish that.

Monday, July 9, 2018

BBQ Chicken and Cheddar Foil Packet Dinner

One of my favorite meals growing up was "Hobo Dinner". It was a ground beef patty, sliced potatoes, and sliced carrots neatly wrapped in a foil package, and popped in the oven or on the grill. Perhaps it was a favorite because it was one of the first things I learned to make. Or perhaps it was a favorite because there were no dishes to wash since it was cooked in aluminum foil and eaten from that same foil packet. 

Imagine my excitement when Sara found this recipe on the Midwest Dairy website. It brought back fond memories of delicious food and no dishes to wash!

Click here for the recipe. Don't you need a night off from doing dishes too?

(We didn't add the onions)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Dairy Farmer For A Day

 Even though we have a great employee, there is always a family member on duty during morning and evening milking. So what happens when it's the employee's night off and only daughter Sara is available to milk? 

You hope you have a great, ready-for-an-adventure, co-worker like Kailey. She and Sara are Language Arts teachers at our local Middle School. When Sara mentioned that brother Michael had to work at his TV job, and Mom and Dad were attending a funeral, Kailey offered her help.

 Now keep in mind, Kailey has never helped on a farm, but she was eager to learn and help us out in a pinch! She was pretty excited to feed our calves, and the calves always like seeing a new face in the barn!

Next it was on to milking. Those of us that milk cows every day never think about the fact that cows weigh about 1,500 pounds, but I'm sure to most first-time farmhands it can be quite intimidating! But Kailey donned her purple milking gloves, grabbed the pre-milking dip for the cows udders, and was ready for step one.

Milking is complete but there is always clean-up. This city girl dug right in!

Calf feeding, cow milking, and clean up - what more is there to do? Kailey's first day as a dairy farmer was complete. Not quite -

Kailey had never been to Fleet Farm...until now!

Kailey's (with Sara) inaugural visit to  Fleet Farm
We always enjoy sharing what we do on our farm, and this first-time farmhand got a close-up view. Kailey got the opportunity to see what we get to see and do every day. It's a great way to learn where and how your food goes from our farm to your table. I believe we taught this teacher a thing or two!

Thanks for your help Kailey. When are you available again?

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Who will be the next Princess Kay of the Milky Way?

Joining me are Princess Kay of the Milky Way Emily Annexstad and the 2018-19 Princess Kay finalists
I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I get to spend the summer with these wonderful young women from the dairy community who feel just as much love for this crazy world of dairy farming as I do!

Each year the Dairy Princess Promotion and Leadership Event is held in St. Joseph, Minnesota. It is a weekend devoted to skill-building to share the message of dairy farmers commitment to providing safe, high-quality milk and dairy foods, including taking care of our cows and the land.

But how are these young women chosen to attend this workshop? Each of the 70+ attendees are from a dairy farm family, or they, or their parents or guardian are employed by a dairy farm. They are selected as their county's dairy ambassadors, and then move on to the May Event. This is also where the 12 finalists are selected for the Minnesota dairy community's goodwill ambassador, Princess Kay of the Milky Way. Candidates are judged on a written application, a short speech, a professional interview, and a mock media interview.

After a busy summer of June Dairy Month promotions, appearances, and County Fairs, the 12 finalists come together in August for more judging. Princess Kay is then crowned the evening before the start of the Minnesota State Fair and will represent dairy farmers for the next year.

I am pleased to be working with this year's Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists-
  • Amy Broll, Chaska, daughter of Dan and Kathie Broll, and representing Carver County;
  • Blaize Dankers, Plainview, daughter of Annette and Travis Reimers, and representing Wabasha County;
  • Katherine Gathje, Richmond, daughter of Scott and Denise Gathje, and representing Meeker County; 
  • Laura Grimm, Waconia, daughter of Joel and Barb Grimm, and representing Carver County;
  • Megan Hollermann, Burtrum, daughter of Shawn and Debbie Hollermann, and representing Todd County;
  • Korissa Lindquist, Kerkhoven, daughter of Rod and Naomi Lindquist, and representing Kandiyohi County;
  • Calissa Lubben, Edgerton, daughter of Cal and Char Lubben, and representing Rock County;
  • Ashley Maus, Freeport, daughter of Darrel and Lisa Maus, and representing Stearns County;
  • Melendy Miller, Plainview, daughter of Stacy and Julie Miller, and representing Wabasha County;
  • Julia Mullenbach, Rose Creek, daughter of Al and Lynette Mullenbach, and representing Mower County;
  • Rebekka Paskewitz, Browerville, daughter of Alan and Vicki Paskewitz, and representing Todd County; and
  • Catherine Thompson, Plainview, daughter of Donny and Holly Thompson, and representing Olmsted County.
Following the Minnesota State Fair I will be working with Princess Kay scheduling her appearances, and assisting with her speeches and media presentations. I am proud to be a part of this program. As a dairy farmer, the mom of a past finalist, and currently the Minnesota Dairy Princess Coordinator, I have seen, first hand, the amazing young women who represent the hard-working, dedicated dairy farmers of Minnesota.

Who will be the next Princess Kay of the Milky Way?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I Am the Midwest Region Farm Mom of the Year!

I am beyond excited and humbled to have been selected the mIDWEST rEGION aMERICA'S fARMERS mOM oF THE YEAR. Today I would like to share with you the press release. #feelingblessed #ilovemylife

TEN exceptional women SELECTED as regional Winners in monsanto’s AMERICA’S farmERS mom OF THE YEAR program
The America’s Farmers Mom of the Year Program, sponsored by Monsanto, Selects and Celebrates Regional Winners for their Contributions to their Farms, Families, Communities and the
Agriculture Industry

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A panel of judges recently named ten women as regional winners of the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program. These regional winners represent the important and continually evolving role that women play in American farms, families, rural communities and the agriculture industry.
The regional winners were nominated by those close to them who see their commitment to their families, communities and farms each and every day. To honor these efforts, each of the winners will receive the right to select an eligible nonprofit organization in her community to receive a $1,000 donation.
The 2018 regional winners of the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year Contest are:
·         LouAnne King, Waddington, NY
·         Julie Broussard White, Starkville, MS
·         Anne Skrabanek, Marlin, TX
·         Bethany Hardesty, Guston, KY
·         Jennifer Hausauer, Halliday, ND
·         Janet Bremer, Hastings, MN
·         Kimberly Huebler, Bland, MO
·         Val Plagge, Latimer, IA
·         Diane Olson, Geneseo, IL
·         Joy Lauritsen, Arlington, NE
 “Every year we’re so impressed by the nominations we receive, and all that these women do for their families and their communities” said Jessica Rommel, Monsanto’s Business Communications Manager. “This year we were thrilled to expand our program to honor ten moms who make great contributions to agriculture.”
Since the program began in 2010, the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program has recognized more than 50 exceptional individuals. In 2018, the program focused on even more communities in which farm moms live and work by providing financial support to 10 eligible nonprofit organizations these farm moms are passionate about.
To learn more about the women nominated, visit More information about the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program can also be found at

About America’s Farmers
The America’s Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit America’s Farmers at

About Monsanto Company
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops - such as corn, soybeans, and cotton - that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit Follow our business on Twitter® at


Monday, June 18, 2018

June Dairy Month Trifecta at the Library

Lucky me. Today I hit the trifecta.
This morning I read to 93 kids and parents at Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings, Minnesota.
What's the trifecta? Reading, teaching, and cows; it's a win-win-win!
Happy June Dairy Month!

Today I began by reading The Cows Are in the Corn by James Young. This story tells how a family works together to take care of making sure all the farm animals are where they should be. I then shared about my family- what we do on our farm, and also about our jobs off the farm.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?  written by Dr. Seuss gives me the opportunity to share what kind of animals we have on our dairy farm (it's cows and cats). I showed what cows and calves eat. We also talked about where our cows live. The kids enjoyed counting by 10's so they could discover we have 130 cows that we milk twice each day.

The Flea's Sneeze by Karla Firehammer is a perfect introduction to how we work to keep our animals healthy and comfortable. Healthy and happy cows give lots of milk. I showed the steps we go through to keep them healthy so our cows milk can get to their grocery store in just 48 hours!

The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson is the perfect book to read so I can talk about delicious milk and all the other great dairy foods! These smart kids could tell me lots of yummy foods they like that are made from milk.

Of course everyone (moms and dads too) left the library with a goodie bag and a cow hat. Thanks to the Dakota County Library for inviting me to talk about my cows during June Dairy Month. See you all next June for another trifecta!

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Three weeks behind. If it were a typical spring, there would be more empty corn seed bags than full ones by now.

Farmers in our area of Minnesota are about three weeks behind where we normally are with planting. Our last big snowfall came much later than usual, delaying the beginning of planting season. So now we are playing catch-up.

The oats, peas, and barley have been planted and are starting to pop their heads through the soil. Today Farmer John was preparing the soil for corn planting in one field while...

Grandpa Roy was planting corn in another field. I am writing this blog post at 10:49 p.m. and Farmer John is still in the field. It's a crazy planting season!