September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

A day in the life on Rick Lundgren's farm

Spring weather sparks cleaning, maintenance March 30
Jamison Henderson feeds the heifers on the morning of March 30.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY JENNIFER COYNE
Jamison Henderson feeds the heifers on the morning of March 30.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY JENNIFER COYNE

By By Jennifer [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

RANDALL, Minn. - The morning of March 30 began as every other day at Rick Lundgren's dairy farm, but the to-do list was growing with every ticking second.
Lundgren and his wife, Donna, own and operate a dairy farm, milking 95 cows in Morrison County near Randall, Minn., with the help of full-time employees Jamison Henderson and Nicole Meyer.
As the sun peaked over the horizon and the frost lifted from the ground, Lundgren, Henderson and Meyer knew March 30 was going to be a busy day. The agenda called for cleaning and bedding calf hutches, repairing the manure spreader and preparing other equipment for spring fieldwork on the 750-acre farm.
"Days go by in a hurry when you're milking cows, and soon with planting corn, they will go by faster," Lundgren said. "We had a nice winter, but things are shifting gears and we're ready to go."
Lundgren is the third generation in his family to manage the dairy operation, a responsibility he took on in 1979.
The farm began with 35 milking cows, and over time the tiestall has been renovated and expanded to hold the current herd.
"As we've gotten bigger, the help has been nice," Lundgren said. "I sure feel pretty lucky that way."
Every morning begins at 5:45, with Meyer and Henderson arriving at the dairy. As Lundgren helps Meyer start in the barn, milking the treated cows, Henderson prepares feed.
"These two have been great help," said Lundgren of Meyer and Henderson. "They really take the pressure off me so that I don't have to be in so many places."
Henderson has worked with Lundgren for seven years, having grown up in the area and spending time on the farm as a child.
"My whole family has worked around here," Henderson said. "I grew up picking rocks on this farm. Rick is like a father figure to me."
Meyer grew up nearby, too. She began working with Lundgren last summer, although she previously helped on occasion while in school, and is responsible for the recordkeeping of the milking herd - when cows are bred, calve and any other health events.
"I got into the dairy industry when I was 15," Meyer said. "Now, I milk cows every day, twice a day."
When Meyer and Henderson are unavailable, Lundgren receives help from his daughter, Kayla Sandbakken and her husband, Wade, and neighbors Michael Fritz and Marty Block.
"Everyone stepped up this winter when I had knee surgery, which was greatly appreciated," Lundgren said.
As the morning continued and Meyer finished milking the last few cows in the barn, Lundgren made a pass in front of the stalls with silage and Henderson fed the dry cows, youngstock and newborn calves.
"With Nicole and Jamison, it all just clicks," Lundgren said. "We all know our jobs and really don't say much during the day; we just get everything done."
Meyer agreed.
"We all know we have our own place to be and are experts in our own responsibilities," she said.
By 9 a.m., the morning chores were complete and Lundgren, Henderson and Meyer cleaned the barn before heading their separate ways for a quick breakfast.
"After we bed the cows, they start dropping like flies into their stalls," Lundgren said. "It's a great sight, seeing them all lie down."
With the weather following the expected forecast of pleasant temperatures and some cloud cover, Lundgren, Meyer and Henderson moved right along throughout their afternoon to stay on task with their to-do list.
"It's been a busy week," Henderson said. "We had two cows calve yesterday and a few the day before, and now we're cleaning up and getting ready for planting."
As Lundgren and Meyer hauled manure from the calf hutches and bedded the area with fresh sand and straw, Lundgren kept busy fixing a leaky hose on a tractor.
In the coming weeks, Lundgren hopes to be in the fields, and if needed, replant alfalfa.
"Last fall I battled with wet weather and was combining corn in January. Surprisingly, the corn did well and it was a good harvest, but long," Lundgren said. "I'd like to see the rain, but it has to dry out once in a while, too."
With the constant go of the afternoon, all tasks were completed in time for Lundgren to run to town before evening fell.
Despite the hectic schedule farming often presents, Lundgren looks forward to every day.
"I'll be the first to admit that I'm not ready to give this up yet," Lundgren said. "Dairy farming keeps my mind and body busy."
As the busy spring day came full circle with evening chores beginning at 5:30, Lundgren was already thinking ahead for what would be on the next morning's to-do list.[[In-content Ad]]


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