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

Providing dairy connections to the community

Schaefers honored as 2013 Kandiyohi County Farm Family of the Year
Tanner keeps an eye on the water tank in the calf barn on Nov. 1. Tanner helps on the farm when he has time.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN
Tanner keeps an eye on the water tank in the calf barn on Nov. 1. Tanner helps on the farm when he has time.<br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO BY MISSY MUSSMAN

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

PAYNESVILLE, Minn. - Providing a connection to the dairy farm for the community is something the Schaefers feel is important.
"Everyone wants that connection to the farm," Terry Schaefer said. "People still feel that is important, so we provide that to them."
Their dedication to being a voice for the dairy industry and dedication to their farm is what has earned the Schaefers the 2013 Kandiyohi County Farm Family of the Year Award. Terry, Carol and their son, Tanner (16), milk 30 cows and run 290 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and small grains on their farm near Paynesville, Minn.
"It makes me proud to be a farmer," Terry said of winning the award. "The thank yous we receive for being involved in farming mean a lot."
"I am honored we were recognized," Carol said. "It was pretty humbling."
The Schaefers have made it a priority to be involved in different aspects of their local community. Terry has been the treasurer for Roseville Township since 1987 and a supervisor for the Kandiyohi County Soil and Water Conservation District. He is also a member of the FFA Alumni association.
"The things we do keep the community operating," Terry said. "I want to see the community operate and keep a rural perspective."
Terry is not the only family member involved in the community. Carol works full-time off the farm and is also involved with St. Louis Catholic Church as a religion teacher.
"It's good to be a rural voice," Carol said.
Tanner serves as the secretary of the Paynesville FFA Chapter, is a mass server and is on the football and track teams at the high school.
"Dairy farmers contribute a lot to the local community," Tanner said.
"We need the community and the community needs us," Terry said. "That is the important part."
As the Farm Family of the Year for Kandiyohi County, the Schaefers were invited to Farm Fest to be recognized with a note that pop and cookies would be served as refreshments.
Troubled by the beverage being served at a farmer recognition event, Terry got on the phone to express his concerns.
"I thanked them for the invite, but told them that as a dairy farmer, I would appreciate if milk were offered at the reception," Terry said. "You have to speak up for your industry. If you don't, you'll get run over."
Terry's parents, Al and Rose Schaefer, purchased the dairy farm in 1946 where they milked 12 cows.
As the youngest of six children, Terry expressed interest in purchasing the dairy farm. In 1986, Terry took over the dairy farm while renting it from his parents.
"I realized it was a good life," Terry said. "I decided to go into it. The opportunity was there with Dad close to retirement."
After two years of dairy farming, Terry started to expand the herd from 12 cows to 30 cows.
"We've stayed there since then," Terry said.
He added more stanchion stalls, a barn cleaner and drilled a new well since the existing one was too close to the barn.
"We were able to be in compliance for Grade A by then," Terry said. "I was happy with it."
Terry finally purchased the cows from his parents and 1990 and started buying parcels of land over the years while adding a pipeline in 1997.
"I worked into it," Terry said. "My parents wanted me to farm, so they were willing to help. It worked out well."
The cows are on pasture from May to November, weather permitting, with dry hay, ground corn and protein available. The remainder of the year, the cows are also fed silage.
Terry has no plans to expand in the coming years.
"We are going to continue with the status quo," Terry said.
Terry met Carol in 1995 and they were married in 1996. Between the two of them, they have six children.
Carol had two children of her own, Chris (35) and Corey (33). Terry had three children of his own, Alex (26), Randi (24) and Laura (23). Together, they have their son, Tanner. Carol's son, Chris, has three children, C.J. (13), Morgan (12) and Krislina (3). Her son, Corey, and his wife, Brook, are expecting a child in December. Terry's daughter, Laura, and her husband, Jake, have one child, Rylie (3 months).
Although they are grown and living on their own, the kids offer to help Terry and Carol during the busy seasons on the farm.
With so many children, Carol enjoyed being on a farm to have an adult around for the kids.
"It's nice to have Terry around when the kids are growing up," Carol said. "We value our family time."
Besides dairy cows, Carol and Terry also raise their own chickens.
"When it's time to process the chickens, it our own family reunion," Carol said. "It helps them keep connected to the farm."
Although the kids have not expressed interest in returning to the dairy farm yet, Terry is still hopeful to continue the farm.
"I want to keep operating it until retirement," Terry said. "I hope to keep it in the family."
With their dedication to the farm and earning the Farm Family of the Year award, Terry and Carol are enjoying being dairy farmers.
"It's open and quiet," Carol said. "Farm life is so wonderful."
"It's what I grew up with and I knew it's what I wanted to do," Terry said. "I am happy here. It's worked for me and it's where I stayed."
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