Spring is a wonderful time of year for the farming community - the frost rises from the ground, tractors are primed for fieldwork, and the days are a bit longer to tap into the never-ending to-do list we are anxious to dwindle.
Spring is a wonderful time for Dairy Star, too. This time of year kick-starts our unique feature, "A day in the life." It's one of my favorite features we put together, giving us the opportunity to work alongside dairy producers and showcase your day-to-day responsibilities in a photo collage article of sorts.
This year, our first "A day in the life" featured Rick Lundgren, of Randall, Minn., and how he and his two full-time employees balance each workday.
March 30 began at 6 a.m., as I entered Lundgren's milkhouse, following the clattering of milking units hanging on the pipeline to find Lundgren at the far end of the tiestall barn. Lundgren was gathering a bucket-full of fresh milk that would later be used for the newborn calf.
Walking alongside Lundgren, as he moved onto the next fresh cow, I learned more about the dairy producer's life as he proudly told me how the farm began, what improvements were made in the past, and what lies ahead.
Soon after, I watched the sunrise over the feed bunk as Lundgren's employee, Jamison Henderson, carried on his responsibilities in the skidloader. At this time, I snapped photos of the hay falling from the bucket and the animals gathering against the neck rail.
Back inside the barn, Nicole Meyer was washing the milking units as Lundgren cleaned and bedded the stalls. In between wash cycles, I was able to converse with Meyer and learn about her role on the dairy.
As those on the farm parted ways for breakfast, so did I - heading back to the office to further develop the article.
Later that afternoon, Mark Klaphake arrived on the farm, where he spent the remainder of the day as a bystander to Lundgren, Henderson and Meyer, as they cleaned calf pens and repaired equipment.
Because Lundgren opened his barn doors to Mark and I, we had the opportunity to portray Lundgren's day through an article and a series of photos - from sunup to sundown.
March 30 was an ordinary day for Lundgren, but for us, it was so much more. While days on the farm may seem mundane, in our eyes there is always a story to tell.
In years past, we've spent hours with families cutting first-crop hay, moving cows into a new barn, attending an auction or being a part of one, and even rode along with a cheesemaker who started his day collecting milk from his patrons. With each picture captured in the camera and quote jotted down on paper, "A day in the life" develops from the simplest of tasks.
But - like most articles in our paper, this feature is not possible without the help of dairy farmers, like you. As we carry on through the next season of farming, please let us know if you could be our next "A day in the life" - whether you're planting cover crops, pitching manure or participating in a local dairy promotion event, we'd relish the opportunity to walk with you through your day.