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

A true family farm

Moulzolfs reach Century Farm status
Murry (left) and Neil Moulzolf check their planter before going out to the fields to replant corn on July 3. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN
Murry (left) and Neil Moulzolf check their planter before going out to the fields to replant corn on July 3. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN

By by Missy Mussman- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

FOLEY, Minn. - For 111 years, a member of the Moulzolf family has been dairy farming.
This year, the Moulzolf family was honored as a Century Farm. Murry Moulzolf is the third generation to milk cows on their dairy farm with his two sons, Neil (31) and Andrew (30), being the fourth. The Moulzolfs currently milk 200 cows on their dairy farm in Benton County near Foley, Minn.
"It is a family related dairy farm," Murry said.
Having their farm join the prestigious list of century farms is something the whole family is excited about.
"It makes me proud to know we have made it this far," Neil said. "It is definitely an achievement."
Andrew agreed.
"I am proud of my family's farm and how far we have made it," he said.
Murry said, "I am more than thrilled."
The Moulzolf's farm dates back to 1903 when Murry's grandfather, Joseph Moulzolf, purchased the farm a mile down the road from the home farm where his great grandfather lived.
At the time, Joseph was milking 24 cows in the original stanchion barn, which had pens for the pigs in the front and calves in the back.
By 1960, Murry's father, Clifford Moulzolf, took over the dairy farm, and in 1967, Clifford took the pigs out of the cow barn and built a hog barn.
Growing up on the dairy farm is something Murry still fondly remembers.
"When I was 9-years-old, I milked my first cow with a Surge bucket and took care of the baby pigs," Murry said. "That is what got me into farming."
With his father doing custom combining and chopping, Murry's responsibilities began to expand.
"From September to December, Dad would fill silos for people, so I helped my mom with chores," Murry said. "It was never-ending fun and excitement for me."
Once Murry graduated from school in 1975, Clifford was looking at who would take over for him.
"He came up to me and asked me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life," Murry said. "I told him I was going to farm. He ended up passing the farm on to me."
The year 1980 was a big year for Murry; he married his wife, Ardelle, and took over the dairy farm from his dad.
"I grew into it," Murry said. "I knew this is what I was going to do."
That same year, Murry renovated the dairy barn to fit 32 cows instead of 24.
"I switched the direction of the stalls and moved the calves to another barn," Murry said.
The dairy herd continued to grow and in 1991, Murry added onto the barn to house 62 cows by taking an old straw shed and rebuilding it for the cows.
"The average herd size at that time was 60, so I went to 62," Murry said.
In 1998, the Moulzolfs added 30 more stalls onto the barn using another building converted into a cow barn. In 2001, they expanded again. The Moulzolfs took half of their loafing shed and put in 40 more tiestalls. By 2011, the Moulzolfs added another barn onto the building to hold their switch cows. Finally in 2013, they added 50 more stalls onto the barn by remodeling yet another building on the farm.
"We tore lots of old buildings down to get our barn the way it is. We gave the original barn a face lift," Murry said. "Every year we had more cows and money, so we did more with the dairy."
While raising his children on the dairy farm, Murry noticed a passion for farming in Neil.
"He would ride in the tractor with me with his pillow and blanket and sleep in the tractor," Murry said. "He stayed with me all the time. He has been in the barn since he was nine months old and never left."
Ardelle agreed.
"I would be hanging clothes on the line and as soon as Clifford or Murry would pull in the driveway with a tractor, he would be trailing behind," she said. "He was destined to farm."
Neil went into partnership with Murry in 2001. After high school, Neil knew that the dairy farm was an easy choice.
"I never second guessed it," Neil said. "From day one, I knew I was going to milk cows."
Andrew had a different path getting back to the farm. After attending college, he worked for Preferred Credit in St. Cloud for several years.
"I could tell he was getting burnt out," Murry said. "One day, he came up to me and told me, 'Dad, I'm coming home to milk cows.'"
Andrew returned to the dairy farm in March of 2013.
"Commuting was a pain," he said. "I realized I enjoyed working more with animals than people."
With both of his sons back working on the farm, Murry couldn't be happier.
"It's kind of neat to have them back here working with me," he said. "It makes me proud."
Chores are split up, with Andrew and Neil milking the cows with nine units.
"It takes 2.5 hours to get it all done," Neil said.
Murry takes care of feeding the calves, switching cows during milking and helping Neil run the family's 1,300 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, winter wheat, oats, and meadow hay.
Murry's brother, Gerry, does all of the feeding and his nephew, Jordan, helps where he can.
With Neil and Andrew beginning their own families, the fifth generation is starting to become involved. Neil and his wife, Erica, have two children, Alaina (6) and Landen (9 months), while Andrew and his wife, Kerrie, are expecting their first child, a baby boy, in September.
Looking into the future, Neil and Andrew already have ideas for the dairy.
"Our goal is to milk 400 cows," Neil said. "We hope to put in a parlor and freestall barn."
Andrew agreed.
"We want to modernize things," he said. "We also want to get a calf barn."
The dry cows are housed at Neil's place, but the family is hoping to do some remodeling there to house the youngstock eventually.
With over a century under their belt, the Moulzolfs plan to continue the dairy farming tradition.
"We aren't giving up on it," Murry said. "We are going to continue dairy farming. This farm is going to succeed in the future."
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