Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A HUGE Santa On The Farm Thank You

Thank you to everyone who supported our third annual Santa On The Farm event. If you were not able to visit, there is a video on this post for you to enjoy. Merry Christmas!

There were lots of cars filled with kids, moms and dads and grandparents too! There were lots of photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus...

and they weren't all photos with little ones either.

Thanks to everyone's generosity, Bremer Farms was able to deliver 97 pounds of food donations AND $773 dollars to be used to purchase milk for our local food shelf, Hastings Family Service.

We appreciate each of you for your donations, but also for your interest in seeing what happens on a dairy farm. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be back again next year on the second Saturday in December. They have already penciled us in on their calendar!

So where was Farmer John in all of these photos? In the barn milking cows, of course. ;)

And now, the video I promised you-

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Speech, A Senate Resolution, and A Visit From A Senator

I was recently asked to be the keynote speaker at our county Farm Bureau banquet. Why me, I wondered. I thought sure it was because my in-laws were on the planning committee, but when I was being introduced, I was assured that was not the case.

I shared about my six generation farm family. I also shared what I do to promote agriculture via presentations, writings, and farm tours. Next I spoke about my love for spreading the dairy farming message through this blog, sharing my favorite posts. However, my goal was not to call attention to what I do, but to hopefully give examples and therefore encourage others to advocate for agriculture. 

I also got an unexpected surprise as I was awarded a Senate Resolution presented by Minnesota State Senator Karla Bigham recognizing my award as America's Farmers Mom of the Year. I appreciate that our government officials acknowledge the importance of agriculture and also its recognition programs in support of farmers.

Minnesota ranks 5th in agriculture production. The Minnesota agriculture industry provides 340,000 jobs, and contributes $75 billion to our states economy annually, and that's no "small potatoes".

State Senator Bigham wanted to see our farm in action, so a recent tour was scheduled.

Daughter Sara, Janet, John, and Karla Bigham

Farmer John discusses concerns affecting farmers, and also township business since he is our Township Planning Commission chairman.

Daughter Sara explains the milking system.

Senator Bigham made another friend.

Thank you Senator Bigham for taking the time to learn more about dairy farming, and also listen to our concerns, and answer our questions.

I encourage all of you to reach out to your elected officials to have a conversation. The conversation needs to begin if we want to see changes and improvements.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A Reason to Scream With the Minnesota Vikings

What do 700 students and the fans at U.S. Bank Stadium have in common? ...noise and enthusiasm!

Yesterday the noise and enthusiasm of the students of Kaposia Education Center would have rivaled that of the fans at the recent Minnesota Vikings - Green Bay Packers game. 
Because of their schools efforts in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program, they received a Hometown Grant and a visit from some special guests of the Minnesota Vikings.

These kids had good reason to cheer. The $10,000 grant will be used to accomplish the students goal of improved health and wellness through several activities and purchases. A farm tour, nutritional information, a smoothie maker, fitness equipment, and even Ninja Warrior stations, are just some of the ways this grant money will be used to assist students in eating well and staying active. 

I was invited to be the guest dairy farmer which gave me the opportunity to speak at the program as well as give a presentation about my farm and life as a dairy farmer to the first grade classes. I got to field some great questions too!

Viktor the Viking, Vikings players and staff, and Vikings cheerleaders, came to help in the celebration. The players were interviewed by students from the FUTP60 leaders,

there was a field goal kicking contest, and the FUTP60  leaders also went through some skill drills lead by the Vikings Youth Football Development Manager.

I am so proud of these students and staff for their dedication to a healthy lifestyle through the Fuel Up To Play 60 program and I was thrilled to be a part of their special day. Keep up the great work Kaposia!

You know me, I'm quite a Vikings fan. I couldn't leave without a photo... 

L-R Stephen Weatherly (#91- defensive end), me, Chad Beebe (#12- wide receiver), Vikings Legend Greg Coleman, and Jeff Robinson (youth football development manager). 

and autographs!

Friday, November 9, 2018

A BIG Bin With BIG Problems

This is one of the storage bins on Bremer Farms. It hold 10,000 bushels of corn, is 30 feet wide and 30 feet tall, and is filled to the top each fall. It has served us well for 39 years.

Have you ever played the game, One of these things is not like the other? If you compare these first two photos, you will see there is a BIG difference. The bin has moved. Yes, for the past year or so, we noticed the concrete that the bin sits on was cracking and deteriorating.

The only way to remedy the issue was to remove the bin and replace the cement pad, but first all the corn had to be removed, and we had to remove a couple pine trees. Then all the apparatus was removed that is used to empty the corn, dry the corn, and keep the corn in top condition. Remember, the corn is used throughout the year to help feed our cows so we need to keep it well preserved.

Then it was time to bring in the big guys. The bin was lifted and set away from the current resting place- all 9,500 pounds of empty bin.

The old concrete was broken up and hauled be recycled!

The ground was leveled...

and new rock was brought in to make a strong base. FYI- that was partly the problem with the old concrete base, as we discovered, the ground was not properly prepared and the concrete was also not reinforced properly. Sheesh! Not this time!

After the concrete forms were installed, more rock was brought in,

leveled and packed down,

and we were ready for the cement truck to arrive. If you notice, you can see the criss-cross pattern of metal rods put in place to reinforce the concrete.

And tah-dah, we have a strong, sturdy, well reinforced base for our bin. After the concrete cured (dried) the crane replaced the bin, the dryer and unloading equipment was put back in place so the electricians could reconnect the electricity.

So our project, that began in June, was completed last week. Thanks to all the crews that made this happen.

Yes, it was a spendy repair, but a necessary one. We really didn't want to head to the barn some morning and see the bin caved in laying on its side. TIMBER!

So the bin is now full to the tippy-top with the start of this years corn harvest. We are now working to fill the bin that you see in the background. Between the bin repair and the weather, we are only about 1/2 done with our corn harvest, which we typically have done by Halloween, but not this year. Some things we just can't control!

Praying for a safe and bountiful harvest for all you farmers out there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

So, How is Harvest Going?

Yes, how is harvest 2018 coming along? Well...

We were inundated with rain this Fall, and man, it's taking a long time to dry up the fields. The lakes/puddles you are looking at are actually the road we should be taking to get to the corn fields. 

Driving through muddy fields really messes with harvest progress! We have been working on chopping corn silage and filling our bunk and bags with breakfast, lunch and dinner for our cattle. You can learn about the process if you click on this link to A BIG Bag Lunch. 

How do we fill these 150 foot long bags of  food for our bovine beauties? Check it out here at Food Preservation. 

Yipee! Corn silage is now finished and it is being devoured!

So what's next?

This will be my view within the next few days. I'll be driving the combine down thousands of rows of corn, just like these. But first... there is a grain/corn storage bin that needs to get some TLC, but that's a story for another day. Coming soon-

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Career in Agriculture?

We host a lot of tours at Bremer Farms. We host day cares, school groups, dietitians- even international groups. But today was one of my favorites. 

These students are enrolled in the Trades and Agriculture class at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC). One of the goals of this course is to expose the students to different occupations in hopes of finding what interests them for their future vocations. 

It was obvious they were here to learn as they had some very insightful questions- What are the drawbacks to dairy farming? Why do you farm and what motivates you to continue? What are the challenges to dairy farmers right now? If you are paid by pound for your milk, how many pounds does a gallon of milk weigh?  

This group also received a bonus on their visit, as we are currently laying a new cement pad for one of our grain bins. The students were given a brief presentation by our cement contractor on what he does in his job. FYI- This bin will store 10,700 bushel of corn. Each bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds. That equals 599,200 pounds of weight on the concrete pad and that's just the corn, not including the weight of the bin!

Thank you to the DCTC students for your great conversations, your respect for our farm, and your desire to learn about the job we love.

If you have more questions, please post them on my Facebook Page- My Barnyard View or email me at

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.