Carl and Heather Olson with their children, Hannah, 12, Haylie, 10, and Charlie, 4, milk 55 cows near Hanover, Minn. 
Carl and Heather Olson with their children, Hannah, 12, Haylie, 10, and Charlie, 4, milk 55 cows near Hanover, Minn. PHOTO BY DANNA SABOLIK

            HANOVER, Minn. – Most people can say a letter penned by the president is not what awaits them in their mailbox. But, for one 12-year-old girl, a letter from President Donald Trump was awaiting her in the mailbox on her family’s dairy farm near Hanover, Minn.

           Hannah Olson came home from school in mid-September with an idea for her writing class assignment. The assignment was to write a letter to a famous person about a concerning issue. Hannah decided to write a letter to President Trump about milk prices.

           Hannah and her family – parents, Carl and Heather, and siblings Haylie, 10, and Charlie, 4 – milk 55 cows and farm 300 acres.

           With the help and advice of her parents, proofreading from her teacher, Mrs. Bohlmann, and inspiration from her favorite cow, Paris, Hannah had the ingredients she needed for a letter. The letter was sent and Hannah was satisfied. In late November, her teacher, Mr.Randall, gave Hannah something she never expected: a reply from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C.

           “She was really excited,” Heather said. “She didn’t think the president was going to write back.”

           In her letter, Hannah addressed issues she feels are threatening her future on the family farm.     

           “It is hard work to feed the world when you don’t get paid much,” Hannah said. “I want to take over the family farm someday, but I cannot if my family has to sell the cows, because they are not getting paid a fair price.”

           In President Trump’s reply, he stated his commitment to helping working American families.

           “Please know that I understand your concerns and hear your frustration,” President Trump said in the letter.

           Getting a reply from the president was a special highlight in the seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms at Salem Lutheran School in Greenfield, Minn.

           “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh this is a letter from Donald Trump,’” Hannah said. “I was so excited and so were my friends.”

           Some classmates heard back from their letters including a reply from the technology company, Apple, and the Patriots coach, but for the most part students were starstruck with a reply from the president. Even Hannah’s parents were surprised.

           “I didn’t think she was going to get a response,” Carl said. “We were not expecting that.”

           Heather agreed.

           “I was hopeful, but everyone at school told her she wasn’t going to get a response from the president so she was disappointed,” she said. “All her classmates that got responses got theirs way before her.”

           Hannah’s idea for the letter stemmed from her dad having to work a second job and a suggestion from Grandpa Klatt, her mother’s father who also dairy farms.

           “My dad has to work off the farm,” Hannah said. “It would be nice if he didn’t have to, and he could get paid right and stay on the farm.”

           Carl works for the city of Hanover’s public works department to provide added income while combating low milk prices.

           Hannah’s parents said she asks questions about the dairy climate and wants to be involved.

           “The way you can change [policy] is to call your elected officials,” Carl said. “I truly believe in that if you’re not involved in government they’re not going to hear your story so you have to be involved.”

           Hannah wants people to know she is concerned for all small dairy farmers who are not being fairly compensated.

           “Farming is so important to me, and it is all I want to do,” Hannah said. “It is what I feel God is calling me to do.”