Nicolas Hernandez Wauizo prepares a cow for milking on the Kohls family’s farm June 3 near Arlington, Minnesota. The cows are milked in a double-5 herringbone parlor.
PHOTO BY GRACE JEURISSEN
Nicolas Hernandez Wauizo prepares a cow for milking on the Kohls family’s farm June 3 near Arlington, Minnesota. The cows are milked in a double-5 herringbone parlor. PHOTO BY GRACE JEURISSEN
    ARLINGTON, Minn. – The smell of fresh pine shavings and pancakes filled the crisp morning air at Do-n-Joy Genetics in Arlington. While a few employees pushed through milking the Kohlses’ herd, the other farm site was winding up for a busy community breakfast.
    Tony Kohls and his brother and business partner, Jeff, milk 310 cows and hosted Arlington’s Breakfast on the Farm June 3.
    Jeff took advantage of the prime weather that morning and made hay from dawn to dusk. He missed the activities of the breakfast, which left his brother to man the farm and navigate the day.
    Jeff runs a trucking business on top of doing fieldwork and helping with a variety of other chores around the farm.
    Kohls started the day by feeding cows at 5 a.m. while their employees milked cows in the double-5 herringbone parlor.
    On a typical day, Kohls will get up around 5 a.m. to take care of the cattle at his home farm site before heading to the main farm around 6 a.m. to take care of the hospital and prefresh cows. From there, he starts feeding, which usually takes him a couple hours.
    “I mix four batches in the summer versus the three in winter just to keep the feed fresher and to keep the cows eating,” Kohls said.
    The Kohlses feed a total mixed ration comprised of baleage, corn, corn silage, and a protein and mineral mix. The corn and corn silage are purchased off the field from a few neighbors they have built strong working relationships with over the last 23 years. Hay is harvested by the Kohlses.
    “It works for us,” Kohls said. “We don’t need the extra corn harvesting equipment and can focus more of our time on maintaining the cattle and putting up quality hay.”
    Kohls and his family work with the genetics side of the farm and have exhibited at World Dairy Expo among other shows.
    From the farm, Kohls headed to the show barn to set up for the guests that would soon arrive for the breakfast, which was scheduled to start at 6:30 a.m.
    While Kohls helped at the breakfast, his crew at the farm continued to milk the herd, bed stalls with sawdust, watch over the dry cows and feed the calves. They were able to take a few minutes toward the end of the breakfast to visit the other farm and grab a bite to eat.
    “We try to keep a simple routine; it makes it easier for the cows and employees,” Kohls said.
    All morning, volunteers from the Arlington Chamber of Commerce helped pull together the event by making food, serving guests, helping with parking and coordinating volunteers. In previous years, the breakfast was held at the fairgrounds in Arlington. This was the 34th year that the Arlington Chamber planned and funded the event.  
    “My wife and I grew up on dairy farms, and we wanted to show our support to the community, so we lent our farm site for the event,” Kohls said. “The overall camaraderie of people who aren’t involved in agriculture on a daily basis that came out to experience a taste of our life was great.”
    Kohls was grateful to talk with visitors and provide them a hands-on experience to learn about life on a farm.
    “My brother and I grew up doing a lot of farm work,” Kohls said. “I’m grateful to have seen the farm passed from my grandpa to my dad to my brother and I. Now my kids can help out and experience it.”
     While Kohls is caring for livestock at the main farm, his kids – Brooklyn, Bryce and Blakely – are usually busy walking show calves, watering and feeding them. The show calves are walked twice a day.
    He makes sure to give the kids experience on the farm and responsibility over some of the tasks. Kohls said he wants his children to see how rewarding farm life can be while giving them free time to enjoy being a kid.
    Following clean up at the breakfast Kohls and his family took a cat nap before heading back to the farm to finish feeding and starting evening milking around 4 p.m.
    Once evening chores were well underway, Kohls headed to the field to haul bales back to the farm for wrapping while the evening milking crew finished up chores at the farm.
    Most days Kohls is back at home by 7 p.m. to milk his show cows, but because of the activities that morning, he sacrificed some shut eye to get the hay Jeff was making back home.
    “I usually go home and milk my few show cows, which takes a while, but I enjoy it because it helps me unwind from the day,” Kohls said.
    After all was said and done Kohls went home to relax after a full day.