A humble way of life

Czechs named Morrison County’s farm family


LITTLE FALLS, Minn. – Dairy farming comes second nature to David and Betty Czech and his family, so when they were recognized for their efforts on the farm and in the community, they were truly surprised.

[[In-content Ad]]

“We’ve heard of the award before but have no idea who nominated us or what the process was,” David said. “It’s a good feeling to know we’re thought of like that by our community. We can’t thank enough whoever put our names in.”
David and his wife, Betty, and their family were recently named the 2022 Morrison County Farm Family by the University of Minnesota Extension. The couple will be recognized and receive the award at Minnesota Farmfest Aug. 2-4 in Morgan.
The Czechs milk 240 cows and farm 480 acres near Little Falls with their children – son Joe and his wife, Alyssa; son Josh and his wife, Krista, and their children, Addison, Clint and Evelyn; son Scott; and daughter Taylor Witt and her husband, Ben.
Staying true to their purpose of family farming, every Czech is involved on the dairy.
“At chore time, we all have a different job and do a little bit of everything,” David said.
David feeds the calves with Taylor as Josh feeds the milking cows, dry cows and heifers; Josh is also the on-site mechanic. Joe and Scott serve as the farm’s herdsmen, and Scott is the primary breeder. Betty does all the dairy’s bookwork.
“It’s really all hands on deck,” Scott said. “And it works well because we all know how everyone thinks, and we’re working with the same people all the time.”
David agreed.
“We do it all ourselves with the family,” he said. “I’m glad we’re able to make it work for everyone and don’t have to hire anyone.”
David and Betty are the fourth generation of Czechs to farm the land. David returned to the farm after high school and then went into a partnership with his parents, Ray and Bernice, in 1991. For the following 10 years or so, they gradually transferred to full ownership of the farm.
The couple was milking in a 67-stall tiestall barn and also ran a small hog finishing operation until 2008. At that time, there was interest from their sons to continue farming, and they placed a greater emphasis on the dairy sector of the family’s farming enterprises.
Joe said it was a quick turnaround.
“It really happened so fast,” Joe said. “We knew if we wanted to be involved, we had to build something. And then, we started building all new facilities.”
In 2008, two years after Joe and Josh graduated high school, the Czechs put up a 211-stall freestall barn and double-12 parlor. A year later, they stopped raising hogs to make room for the demand of a larger dairy herd.
“The hogs were always a side thing,” David said. “We’ve always been short on land, but getting rid of the hogs gave us a little bit more for the cows.”
Today, the Czechs raise about 80% of their feed needs.
Scott returned to the dairy following graduation in 2010.
“I think we all knew we wanted to farm after high school,” Scott said. “There wasn’t any question. Dairy farming was something I was used to and knew I liked.”
In the time that the Czech brothers have worked alongside their parents, the family has seen the farm make great progress in terms of milk production, herd health and feed quality.
“All aspects of the farm, there have been huge improvements from where it started to where we are now,” Scott said.
Joe agreed.
“As we look ahead, I think we’ll keep maintaining the size of farm we have but look to be more efficient and more productive,” he said.
To reflect the Czechs’ ideals of farming, they recently completed a monoslope building for breeding age and bred heifers. David estimated that the addition of the new building to the farm eliminated about 45 minutes of time in daily chores.
“Everything we do, we do in a way that makes sure the cattle are taken care of right and that our time is used well,” David said.  
Optimizing their time at the dairy allows the Czechs to be involved in their church and enjoy the Minnesota landscape with hunting, fishing and camping trips.  
The Czechs’ farm was started by David’s great-grandfather, Frank, in 1875. Today, just three years shy of a sesquicentennial celebration, the Czechs are proud of their farming heritage and humbled by the reputation their work has garnered within Morrison County.
“I’m the fourth generation on this land,” David said. “When we started investing more into the dairy, I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but I’m glad to see it’s strong.”
Joe agreed and said he thinks of the farm’s legacy and future all the time.
    “We were raised to know that hard work will get us somewhere,” Joe said. “Our goal is to always be productive enough to keep going.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here