April 26, 2021 at 6:55 p.m.
Family: John and I have been married for 30 years. We have raised four children on the family farm – Erika, 28, Matthew, 26, Brett and Brittany, 23. All of our children live in Burlington. We have one granddaughter, Brixley, and another grandchild due in August.
Tell us about your farm. Our farm is a small family farm owned and operated by John and I and Matthew and his wife, Britte. All of our kids continue to help on the farm. We also are fortunate to have friends and family who will always lend a helping hand. We bought the farm 30 years ago from Eugene and Dorothea Ehlen. When we first started, we milked about 26 cows. Today, we milk about 120 cows. All of the milking cows were born and raised on this farm. There have been three generations on this small farm.
What is the busiest time of day for you? There is no single time of the day that is not busy on the farm. It is always busy whether it is planting time, hay time or harvest time.
When you get a spare moment, what do you do? When I get a spare moment, I enjoy relaxing with friends and family.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. The most memorable experience I can remember is seeing a calf born for the first time. I was born and raised in the city and married into farming. So, I never saw a calf being born. Now when one is born, we wonder if it is going to be a milking cow to add to the herd or not.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? I enjoyed being able to raise our family on the dairy farm. It is hard work, but the kids learned responsibility at an early age. It is amazing to see them all willing to help on the farm to this day. Family and friends are what makes our small farm successful.
How do you stay connected with others in the industry? We stay connected with others in the industry by going out with other farmers and reading farm papers. John informs me the most about the industry by talking with other farmers and by reading the farm papers.
Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My mother-in-law is someone who inspired me in the dairy industry. Dorothea raised eight children and helped on the farm. She was helping us until she turned 90. I figured if she could raise eight kids on the farm, I could raise four. My mother, Joan, was also a big inspiration. She was always there supporting me and helping with the kids. These two women inspired me to be a good wife and mom.
If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? I don’t think there is one prominent woman or man in today’s society I’d want to give a tour of the farm to. All people should visit a farm someday and see the dedication and work that goes into the products they consume. It’s not simply going to the grocery store and picking it up.
What is the best vacation you have ever taken? We took the family to Disney World in Florida. It was the first time we all ever stepped foot on a plane. It was amazing. We all flew together with friends and family for the first time. It was an amazing week-long trip for the family.
What are some words you like to live by? “You can’t live without family and friends;” “One has to have faith;” and “The little things in life are what really matter.” They have all been the key to our success and our wonderful life.
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