April 11, 2022 at 4:02 p.m.
STEWART, Minn. – It is not uncommon for KurthHaven Farms to be full of life. Ever since he was young, Michael Kurth remembers the dinner table being full of mouths to feed and the barn full of the Holstein breed.
Now just eight years after Michael and his wife, Kacie, officially stepped up to run the farm as their own, they have been recognized for having a herd that performs and produces.
Michael and Kacie, along with his parents, LeRoy and Susan Kurth, were recognized as a 2022 Minnesota Purebred Dairy Cattle Association Distinguished Breeder March 12 at the All-Breeds Convention in Willmar.
“It is an honor to be recognized for the work we have done,” Kacie said.
“I felt proud of my family and of our cows, because everyone here is invested in, or enjoys helping, around the farm,” he said.
The state board of directors for the Minnesota Holstein Association nominated the Kurths for the award after looking over records and establishing that the herd has improved and is classifying well under breed standards.
Michael and Kacie milk 85 cows in a tiestall barn and farm 800 acres.
“We have started focusing more on herd health and livability of our cows, and it seems like we are headed in the right direction,” Michael said.
The Kurth family has a history in the Holstein breed. LeRoy and Susan began milking in 1969 on the family farm. They have passed down a love for Holsteins from one generation to the next.
“I knew from the time I was probably 6 years old that I wanted to farm just like my dad,” Michael said. “We had a great foundation for a good herd from my parents, but when we took over the farm, our efforts have helped really get the herd to the next level.”
Kacie said she remembers watching Michael work with his dad for many years, and they shared similar opinions when it came to genetics and breeding decisions.
All of the cattle at KurthHaven Farms are bred with artificial insemination. They breed heifers with sexed semen and have begun crossbreeding cows with beef semen if cows have a harder time settling.
The Kurth family utilizes embryo transfer from four to five of their top cows each year as a way to quickly improve the genetics on their farm.
The Kurth family has been working and showing cattle together for many years.
A cow family that has given KurthHaven Farms much success is from the now-deceased cow, KurthHaven KacieDurham, who reached 93 points during her classification.
“Something we are proud of is our Breed Age Average reaching 108.9%,” Michael said. “I breed for high type traits and feed for production while considering animal health traits along with it.”
Sixty-two cows are Michael and Kacie’s while the other 23 cows are their nieces’, Sierra, Mackenzie and Shelby Swanson. The Swanson sisters own Three Sisters Dairy and manage their herd at the KurthHaven Farms farm site.
Sierra works closely with the Kurths every day because the two herds are raised together. Sierra said some of the goals they are working together on is to continue increasing the BAA of both herds and increasing production without sacrificing components.
Michael and Kacie work full time on the farm. They spend much of their quality time together in the barn.
“We often times start on opposite ends of the barn and meet in the middle,” Michael said.
Over the years, Kacie said it was not uncommon for the Kurth family dinner table to be filled with not only Michael and Kacie’s children but also nieces.
“It was almost every day of the week our dinner table had 12 to 13 people at it,” Kacie said.
The family gatherings are still regular at KurthHaven Farms, with Michael and Kacie’s children, Chandler, and his wife, Rachel, Christian and Brianna, making efforts to help when they can. LeRoy and Susan, now in retirement, help on busy days.
Michael and Kacie are grateful to their family for participating in the farm. Even Michael’s sister, Kari Swanson, helps with calves regularly.
“Some days it feels like we never get off the farm, but there is always someone here to lighten the work load or make your day,” Kacie said.
Michael and Kacie both remember a time when their children were little and the best babysitter was the cows.
“We would put the kids in a playpen during milking or let them swing in the walk way,” Kacie said.
There is potential for the next generation of Kurths to start farming as they show interest in the farm.
“You have to be in it for the long haul,” Michael said of farming.
“Farming is an uphill battle,” she said.
To Submit an Event Sign in first
No calendar events have been scheduled for today.