Women in Dairy

Kathy Dux, Stewartville, Minnesota, Olmsted County, 30 cows


Tell us about your family and farm. Our family farm is a 30-cow operation with 20 beef cattle and 10 ewes and their lambs. We farm 300 acres of pasture, hay and grain to feed all the livestock.

What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? My husband and I get out to the barn around 7 a.m. I feed, water and bed the calves in the hutches. The number of calves range from four calves to 13. I also feed and water the sheep before I have to leave for my preschool teaching job at 8:15 a.m. During night milking, besides the calves and sheep, I sweep up hay, scrape behind the cows, and give hay and feed to the cows in our 39-stall station barn.

What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? Feeding concentrate to the cows is much simpler since each cow gets the same amount before and after each milking except for the dry cows.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. My most memorable experience was when we had 21 calves in a short time. That was stressful to get them all fed and get to work on time.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? I enjoyed raising our kids on the farm, and now, I especially love to see the grandchildren play and learn about animal care and the milking process. I also enjoy having families out to see and learn about dairy farming as well as the sheep.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? We built a silo and shed near the dairy operation, which was convenient for the beef, steers and calves as well.

What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? I have been on the Olmsted County American Dairy Association board since 1995. I am serving as secretary and been involved in dairy princess day care visits, farm visits, Rochester Honker’s game, county fair milk wagon and other promotions. Two of our daughters were dairy princesses, so I was involved in supporting them at parades and other events. For a number of years, in April and May, our county Extension organized Ag in the Classroom visits, which I did the dairy class at surrounding schools.

What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? Dairy takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice, but it is a good feeling to be an active participant of the dairy industry. Also, keep things in perspective. Maybe things are not as bad as it seems. Focus on the good and maybe it is not that bad.

What is a challenge in the dairy industry you have faced, and how did you overcome it? It is always difficult planning for family gatherings and holidays. Everything is contingent on milking times, fieldwork, a cow having a calf, cleaning the barn and grinding feed. It changes almost every day.

When you get a spare moment, what do you do? I do watch the grandchildren when I can, and it seems each extra moment is used to catch up with the house chores or preschool planning.


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