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

Galls give their all

Morrison County family make do for a chosen, treasured lifestyle
(Top) Stephanie is in charge of feeding the cows silage and haylage using three wheelbarrows after Scott fills them with a skidloader. (Bottom) Scott took calf pens out of the dairy barn and built pens in a nearby shed.
(Top) Stephanie is in charge of feeding the cows silage and haylage using three wheelbarrows after Scott fills them with a skidloader. (Bottom) Scott took calf pens out of the dairy barn and built pens in a nearby shed.

By By Krista M. Sheehan & Mark Klaphake- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

BUCKMAN, Minn. - Scott and Stephanie Gall admittedly don't have a lot of the newest technologies on their farm, using wheelbarrows and water hoses as an essential part of their daily routine
What they do have is a lot of sweat equity, terrific support from family and friends, and most importantly, perseverance to do something they truly enjoy.
The Galls have been dairy farming over five years with their three children, Valerie, Evalie and Hailey, and milk 54 cows on their farm in Morrison County near Buckman, Minn.
"I like that we can all work together with the kids," Stephanie said. "It's a good life for them."
The Galls' start in the dairy industry came unexpectedly when Scott's uncle, Dennis, died of a heart attack. Scott immediately stepped in to help, and Dennis' wife, Renee, asked Scott if he was interested in farming and buying the farm.
"Three to four days after he passed, I said I would take it and took the herd over on the fly. I had to tell the guys at work I wasn't coming back," said Scott, who had worked 10 years off the farm doing sheetrocking.
Farming immediately became a part of their life.
"I always wanted to, but we didn't think it would happen," Stephanie said. "I was cautious and nervous about buying the farm."
A short time later, they bought the farmsite and 40 acres, and they embarked on their new dairy career.
"You have to appreciate what you've got and how good the farm life is. You don't have to listen to somebody constantly, and you are always with your family," Scott said.
Along with the chores, baths, suppers and homework, Stephanie continued to work at her part-time job as a medical lab technician.
They learned to dairy farm on the fly, and a little over a year after taking over the farm, they faced their biggest challenge - the milk price drop of 2009.
"In 2009, we figured we were working a whole day for $27. You feel disappointed and disgusted because you work so hard," Stephanie said.
But the Galls fought through it and endured the hardship until they could look toward the future with improvements.
Once they got their feet under them again, Scott began to make plans on how to improve the farm.
One of his first big decisions about improving his facility was between getting a TMR mixer or new stalls and mats
"People told me changing the stalls and making it more comfortable for the cows is a better thing to do first," Scott said.
So, that's what he did. In 2011, Scott started taking out calf pens and put in 20 more stalls in the barn. Last year, he took out one side of old stalls, and put in new mats and tiestalls.
Changing stalls wasn't the only big change on the Galls' farm last year as Stephanie decided to quit her job and join the farm full-time. She now watches the kids and helps with feeding the animals both morning and night. Scott does the milking.
"I enjoyed my job, but when I tried to do both (farming and being a lab technician) I felt I wasn't giving either one a fair shake," Stephanie said. "It was a big step to step away from it, but I'm really happy that I did it. I like chores, and I always did. I grew up that way. I like being outside."
She turned in her lab samples and rubber gloves to work with three wheelbarrows and a water hose. When the Galls feed their cows in the barn, Scott dumps silage and haylage with the skid loader into three wheelbarrows placed side-by-side. Stephanie then takes the wheelbarrows into the barn to feed the cows while Scott goes to get another dump full.
"We've gone through a lot of wheelbarrows," Scott said.
For their heifers and steers, which are housed in a nearby shed, the Galls have to use a 200-foot hose to water the animals both morning and night because they don't have automatic waterers.
The Galls would like to make more purchases for their farm, but are reluctant because of the volatile input costs and the fluctuating milk prices.
"The finances are so up and down it's hard to plan. When we were milking the most, the feed costs were high, so what we made was smaller than before," Stephanie said. "Everything goes up so drastically."
They experience the same challenges as many other young dairy farmers just beginning their careers.
"It's hard to put something away when you first start out. It's hard because we need so many things to start," Stephanie said.
Fortunately, they have a great support system from both sets of parents, and other family and friends.
"When we started, people were very helpful, constantly asking if we need anything," Stephanie said. "Renee and her family have been really great to us during the transition, which was key to helping us as new farmers."
The Galls own a haybine, chopper box, tractor and skid loader, and are fortunate enough to have Scott's parents, who farm with Scott's two brothers two miles away, willing to share the rest of the equipment they need. Scott's dad, Alvin, is always around to help with planting and harvesting. The Galls plant corn for silage and feed and alfalfa.
Stephanie's parents, Sam and Arlene Fussy, have also been invaluable, helping with tractor driving and renting the Galls 70 acres of their land for 2013. With the new land this year, they will be renting 230 acres of land in addition to their 40 they own.
Scott's uncle, Donny, has also lent a helping hand, coming out to fix anything that needs repairs.
"Without them (our parents) and uncle Donny, we wouldn't have made it. It would have been too deep of a jump without them," Scott said. "They've been very helpful."
They have also worked closely with their local coop, Sunrise Ag, with their milk components and have been able to drop their somatic cell count into the 100,000's, a butterfat count around 4 and 3.2 on protein.
The Galls plans for 2013 are to increase the herd to 68 cows and hopefully buy a bagger from a neighbor, so they can cut back on use of their stack behind baler.
Otherwise they plan to continue to get along with as little as they need.
[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.