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

Meyers make 100 years of memories

Greenwald family reaches century farm status
The Meyer family from Greenwald, Minn., were honored as a Century Farm. They are pictured front row, from left, Sarah (14), Aaron (12), Kristin (11) and Kayla (9). Back row from left, Dean, Karen, Darlene and Cyril Meyer.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN
The Meyer family from Greenwald, Minn., were honored as a Century Farm. They are pictured front row, from left, Sarah (14), Aaron (12), Kristin (11) and Kayla (9). Back row from left, Dean, Karen, Darlene and Cyril Meyer.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN

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

GREENWALD, Minn. - For the past 100 years the Meyers have had to keep up with the times.
"We manage with what we have," Dean Meyer said about how they have accomplished this 100-year farming milestone. "We change what we have instead of always building new."
That mentality served them well and helped them earn the honor of being named a Century Farm this year. Dean and Karen Meyer, along with their children, Sarah (14), Aaron (12), Kristin (11) and Kayla (9), and Dean's parents, Cyril and Darlene Meyer, farm together on their 40-cow dairy in Stearns County near Greenwald, Minn.
The Meyers' farm dates back to April 1, 1913, when Cyril's grandparents, Clemens and Mary Meyer, purchased the farm while living nearby in Meire Grove, Minn.
"No one lived on the farm for nearly 11 years," Cyril said. "They raised livestock there during that time though."
In 1924, Cyril's parents, John and Caroline Meyer, got married, took over the farm and moved onto the farm with a 34-foot by 64-foot dairy barn built in 1898, a granary and an old log home. The house that is still standing today replaced the old log home.
Over the years, the Meyer farm has seen many changes to keep up with the times.
In 1950, John added 20 feet onto the old stanchion barn to make room for youngstock.
"The barn is the only thing here today that was originally here when my parents moved onto the farm," Cyril said.
John and Caroline milked 30 cows in a stanchion barn, and in 1962, Cyril took over the family farm right out of high school. He rented the land, and bought the cattle and machinery. In 1964, he and Darlene were married and they purchased the farm in 1966.
"He never left," Darlene said.
"Someone had to take over," Cyril said jokingly. "I was always interested in farming. I loved the variety of work."
A year after taking over the farm, Cyril added onto the barn to house 38 cows. The original barn had three rows spanning the width of the barn with 10 cows in each row. The addition eliminated the three rows and condensed it down to two with 19 cows in each row.
In 1965, Cyril purchased a bulk tank and used a step saver, which traveled through the barn and transferred the milk to the bulk tank through a hose.
As the years progressed, the Meyers built other buildings for storage and space for heifers
They eventually tore down the silo in 1971, and rebuilt one in 1983 to store haylage.
"They were not raising corn anymore," Dean said. "We haven't since then."
They switched over from the step saver and installed a pipeline in 1974.
"It was becoming more popular at that time," Cyril said.
In 1979, Cyril put in their first manure pit by the pole shed and Dean added a liquid storage pit in 2010 with the original pit now used for solid manure storage
In 1999, Dean had come back to start milking the cows and take over the farm after working for the USDA Farmers Home Administration for eight years as an ag loan officer.
"With dad looking to retire, the opportunity came up to come back if I wanted to," Dean said. "I wanted to be more involved in dairy. I grew up with it and it's what I am most familiar with."
Cyril and Darlene were proud to have Dean take over.
"It's something you always hope for," Darlene said.
Since Karen and Dean began farming, they continued to make changes to the farming operation.
In 1999, they replaced the bulk tank with a larger one nearly doubling their milk capacity, and in 2001, they installed automatic take offs and added tunnel ventilation in 2003.
With additional need of housing for heifers, they converted the hog barn to a newborn calf facility with 14 stalls and remodeled the pole shed.
"We basically remodeled it ourselves," Dean said.
With so many changes made to the farm, the Meyers believe it was well worth it.
"We remodeled what we had and made things more labor efficient," Dean said.
"It's what we had to do to be more successful," Cyril said.
The Meyers are currently milking 40 cows in the stanchion barn and running 215 acres of pasture land, barley, alfalfa and grass hay.
Although they are still milking in the stanchion barn twice a day, the cows are out on pasture from May through October while being fed alfalfa and grass hay and a grain mix. During the winter, they are fed alfalfa hay, haylage and a grain mix.
Cyril still helps milk in the mornings, feeds the dairy herd and helps with fieldwork and anything else that needs to be done.
Dean is involved in the daily operation of the farm. He milks the cows, deals with all the herd health issues, feeds the dairy herd, fieldwork and all the daily chores.
"They know each other and the operation," Karen said. "They get it done together."
Karen pays the bills and helps with many farm tasks when she isn't picking up supplies for the farm and running with the kids.
Their children help out on the farm with feeding calves, milking cows, rock picking, baling hay and driving tractor when they are available.
Despite all the changes to their farm, the Meyers believe there is still much to learn.
"We enjoy learning more to help make decisions," Karen said. "Agriculture has changed and we need to reach out to improve and learn more about the changes we need to make on our farm."
After 100 years, the Meyers continue to thrive and are proud of where they are.
"It's nice to reach the century mark," Dean said.
"It's a family operation with a family bond you can't replace," Karen said. "Even through the ups and downs, it is still a thriving business for us."[[In-content Ad]]


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