HOLDINGFORD, Minn. – Farmers throughout the Midwest will not quickly forget the spring of 2019. With delayed planting due to soggy conditions, many farmers have struggled to get their crops in the ground. On June 3, the Youngs took advantage of a sunny day and fired up the planter.
    The busy Monday began with milking. From planting corn to basketball practice and college classes, the Youngs had a full slate on top of daily duties on the 62-cow dairy near Holdingford, Minn.
    Kevin and Beth, along with their daughters, Samantha, 18, and Katie, 15, were in the barn by 5 a.m. to clean and feed the cows. Then, milking began at 6 a.m. in their tiestall barn with seven milking units to jockey between the cattle.
    The barn is a busy place to be, but Katie made time to pet the dog running up and down the aisle any chance she could.
    “Katie has all the pets,” Kevin said. “They walk right up to her, even the skittish calves. She also has a goat named Henry.”
    At 6:30 a.m., Beth went inside to clean up for the day. She works at a board and care group home as a licensed practical nurse three days a week in St. Cloud, Minn.
    Kevin and his daughters finished morning chores, wrapping up milking at 8:30. They then let the cows out, cleaned the barn, fed again and let the cows back in for the day.
    Kevin is happy his girls are done with school for the year as chores go much faster with the extra help.
    “It’s a way faster chore process with the girls home,” he said. “We’re going to have a good summer.”
    After the barn was cleaned and the cows back in their stalls, the Youngs focused on calf chores. They cleaned the barn floor and limed it for the day.
By 10 a.m., the projects for the day began.
    Samantha spent time in the house to begin her online college class for the summer. She graduated from Holdingford High School May 31 with plans to attend Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn., in the vet tech program. In addition to her online veterinary introduction class, she is shadowing at a local vet clinic and serves as a Stearns County Dairy Ambassador.
    At the same time, Kevin prepared the planter with his father-in-law, Duane Buermann.
    “We would like to finish planting corn today and be ready for soybeans by tomorrow,” Kevin said.
    Duane worked for a John Deere implement dealer and enjoys helping with planting.
    “I knew we’d have no trouble getting along when I started dating Beth,” Kevin said. “We had all John Deere equipment here, so it was a perfect match.”
    Kevin grew up on the farm which has been in the family for five generations. His great-great-great grandfather donated the land for the historical Arban church which is up the hill from the farmyard.
    Now, just the entrance steps and altar remain, but Mass is held there a few times a year when the weather permits and the priest is prepared for it.
    “We had an Easter Mass up there at 6 a.m. Easter morning and more than 200 people attended,” Kevin said.
    The Youngs’ farm is named after the small municipality where the church, a schoolhouse and post office once existed. Kevin’s father, Jerome, attended the school, and he remembered hearing stories from neighbors who would buy moonshine from the post office.
    Kevin and Duane planned to get in the fields by 10:30 a.m. but were delayed for 10 minutes with a short breakdown. Soon after, Duane was back in the tractor cab and planting the remainder of the corn.
    As Duane planted, Kevin helped clean up for farm for Samantha’s high school graduation party next weekend.
After the last of the Youngs’ corn was in the ground, Kevin switched the planter for soybean, calculated populations and prepared everything for the next day, if he is not delayed by rain.
    The afternoon passed by, and by 4:30 p.m. it was time for evening chores.     
    Katie and Samantha usually take care of feeding together, but this evening Katie had basketball practice. So, Samantha did Katie’s chores along with her own.
    While Kevin and Samantha milked from 6-8 p.m., Katie and Beth went to basketball practice in Cold Spring, Minn.
    Katie is in the Special Olympics and participates in bowling in the fall and basketball in the spring. She is on a team with students from Albany and ROCORI schools. They practice on Monday evenings and compete in two tournaments throughout the season.
    Her team is preparing for the state tournament which will be June 21-23 at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn.  
    Beth is a coach for the basketball team and enjoys watching Katie bond with other kids like her.
    “This is really good for her,” Beth said. “It’s a nice program.”
    Basketball practice was over at 7 p.m., and the girls made their way back to the farm to complete the busy day.
    Kevin is looking forward to planting soybean and finishing up the wet spring.
    “It’ll be nice to have everything in the ground,” he said. “We have to fertilize some fields yet but should be able to start planting tomorrow if there’s no rain.”
    Saturated fields have made it hard to get the crop planted this spring, but the Youngs are glad to have their corn in the ground after a successful, yet busy, June 3.