Curt (left) and Chris Nachreiner farm in partnership with their mom, Janet, near Fairfax, Minnesota. The trio milks 300 cows and farms 1,500 acres.
Curt (left) and Chris Nachreiner farm in partnership with their mom, Janet, near Fairfax, Minnesota. The trio milks 300 cows and farms 1,500 acres. PHOTO BY MARK KLAPHAKE
FAIRFAX, Minn. – Three generations of Nachreiners are involved in their dairy operation, and on Oct. 6, all were present on a warm 80-degree October day.
Janet Nachreiner and her two sons, Chris and Curt, milk 300 cows and farm 1,500 acres in Renville County near Fairfax.
On a typical day Janet, Chris, Curt and his wife, Lisa, and their four children – Maddy, 16, Lydia, 14, Kellen, 10, and Sylvia, 8 – are at the dairy. Chris’s wife, Tina, works off the farm full time. They have two daughters, Ella, 11, Sofia, 9, who stop at the farm from time to time.
“I enjoy working with my family. We all work together, and we are all here. That is the best part,” Janet said. “It’s very neat, very cool; I’m glad I can do it.”
Curt agreed.
“It’s a blessing, everybody working together with a common goal to succeed every day,” he said.
On the warm October day, chores and soybean harvest were on the docket.
Janet, Lisa and a full-time employee started their day at 4 a.m. Lisa scraped and bedded stalls and brought the different groups of cows to the double-10 parlor while the other two milked. The Nachreiners have their cows separated into four groups – two 110-cow groups, one fresh cow group and a special care group.
 “I enjoy working alongside my husband,” said Lisa, who ran a daycare until five years ago.  “It was a goal when we met that someday we would be working together.”
Curt, who is limited on the physical activities of the farm due to a broken arm he suffered in late September, got their children up, fed and off to school before coming over from his farm, 1 mile from the dairy. He then helped milk the last two groups of cows; the fresh cows and treated group.
 Meanwhile, Chris checked over breeding records and then started feeding youngstock. The calves stay at the farm until they are 4 or 5 months old and then they go to a heifer raiser. Once Lisa and Curt were done in milking barn, they helped Chris finish calf chores.
Chris attended Ridgewater College in Hutchinson for dairy management. He has been back on the farm since 1995.
“That’s always been our goal, to have a family farm,” Chris said.
Chris oversees breeding and herd health along with youngstock. Curt is more involved with crops, including seed selection, crop rotation and feed management.
“Our goal is to make the crops better every year,” Curt said. “We try to raise everything here and buy minimum.”
Chris agreed.
“We try to get as much milk as we can for the least cost,” he said.
After the morning responsibilities were complete, the family’s focus switched to the field. They finished fourth crop alfalfa over the weekend and were ready to begin soybean harvest.
“We’ve always enjoyed the crop farming,” Curt said. “If we could do it year-around I think we would.”
The brothers put the soybean head on the combine and moved machinery around to prepare for the first day of harvesting soybeans.
“I like seeing what’s out there,” Curt said. “We worked all year and now we get to see what is out there.”
Once the combine was ready, each brother went back to his respective farms to feed animals and eat lunch before combining.
Curt, who does the crop planting, combined while Chris adjusted the sieves and fans. Then, he hauled loads.
Lisa returned to the farm in early afternoon to push up feed with the skidloader and water calves. She then went to pick up the children at school.
By 4 p.m. the Nachreiner family was back at the dairy.
“Our kids are here every day whether they are milking the cows or helping dad,” Lisa said.
The Nachreiners also employ six students for evening milkings and weekends. Those kids are assisting the Nachreiners with evening and weekend chores.
Janet is also doing calf chores at this time along with assisting milking with the fresh cows and the special care group.
Tuesday evening, Maddy did chores at home and Lydia made dinner. Kellen rode in the combine after school until Lisa got done with chores.
The Nachreiners finished farm chores by 7:45 p.m. Curt and Chris harvested soybeans until 9 that evening. They completed 60 acres that yielded between 57-70 bushels per acre.
The family has a total of 400 acres of soybeans to harvest this fall.
“The day went really good. My goal was to have gotten the small field done by the barn, but we got a lot further than that,” Curt said. “It was just a nice pace yesterday.”