April 26, 2021 at 7:04 p.m.

Women in Dairy: Leah Kurth

Leah Kurth
Cosmos, Minnesota
Renville County
150 cows

Family: My husband, Bill, and I have four children: our son Larkun, 14, and three girls Livia, 10, Briecyn, 7, and Taelyn, 6 months.

Tell us about your farm. Bill and I own and operate KurthKine Holsteins. On our dairy, we milk 150 cows twice a day in a double-8 herringbone parlor 1 mile south of my husband’s home farm. The cows and breeding age heifers are housed in a 180-stall sand-bedded freestall barn. Heifers ages 0-13 months are housed at our home farm in a retrofitted calf barn and mono-slope shed. Our pregnant heifers are custom-raised with family friends near New Ulm. We farm 180 acres which consist of corn silage, oats and alfalfa. We rent some additional alfalfa ground.
What is the busiest time of day for you? The busiest time of day is later afternoon and evenings. This time consists of picking up the kids from school, getting them to and from any after-school activities, feeding calves and filling in wherever needed during chores.

When you get a spare moment, what do you do? With a 6-month-old who doesn’t usually sleep through the night, when I have a spare moment, I like to try and take a nap. But normally in my spare time, I like to dabble in various craft projects, read or work on a home improvement project.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. I can’t think of a most memorable experience, but some of my favorite times are classification days. Each time we add a high-scoring 2-year-old or a new Excellent cow to our farm it is extremely exciting and fulfilling. We have great foundation cow families within our herd, and seeing those lines improve from generation to generation is motivating.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry?  I grew up a town kid and didn’t have any experience with agriculture until I met my husband. I enjoy raising our family on the farm. The farm itself teaches kids such great lessons, and our local dairy community is full of great families that are awesome at what they do and always supportive of each other.

How do you stay connected with others in the industry? I enjoy serving and volunteering on local boards, organizations and committees. I am the vice president of our county ADA, vice president of our county DHIA, a board member on our creamery’s young cooperative board, the treasurer for the Region 7 Dairy Show Committee and the association manager for our bowling association. Our farm also enjoys hosting various events throughout the year when we can such as twilight meetings, field days or industry learning opportunities.
Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My good friend, Alison Rickeman. Her passion for the dairy industry and the farmers that make up the industry is truly motivating and energizing. She is always striving to learn as much as she can, is knowledgeable about all things dairy and is a great person to toss ideas off of.

If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? I would much rather invite kids from a local school or groups of people from larger cities who don’t normally have the opportunity to see an actual dairy farm. So many consumers have never even seen a calf or a cow. Visiting a farm where they can be hands-on with those animals can change the way they view dairy farmers and impact their dairy purchasing decisions in the future much more than any prominent women in today’s society.
What is the best vacation you have ever taken? About 12 years ago, I went to New York with a group of girls to bowl in a national bowling tournament. After bowling in Syracuse, we went into New York City and stayed for several days. We did all the fun touristy things and saw a couple Broadway shows. The hustle and bustle of NYC was a great experience, and I would definitely go back.

What are some words you like to live by? I enjoy quotes in general. A few of my favorite include: “Never water yourself down just because someone can’t handle you at 100 proof;” “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take;” and “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”


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