Tim Kieffer
Hastings, Minnesota
Dakota County
400 cows

How did you get into farming? My dad milked cows when I was growing up, and my brother, Kevin, and I enjoyed working with cows. So, I decided that is what I wanted to do. We built our current facility in 2000, and Kevin and myself began buying some of the farm in 2007.

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? My biggest concern is supply issues. It is becoming more difficult to get necessary parts in a timely manner.

What is a recent change you made on your farm and the reason for it? Within the last year, we started using CowManager ear tags on our heifers. It has been a huge time saver, and our pregnancy rate on our heifers has never been better.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I guess you could say I am a Jack of all trades but a master of none.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? Several years ago, we decided to change creameries, and shortly after we switched, our old creamery fell on hard times with low milk prices and too much supply.

What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? Cordless power tools, a big hammer and hot water. There’s always something to fix around the farm, and we had our water heater go out. I learned you cannot live without hot water.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? We currently just ride out the low prices.

How do you maintain family relationships while also working together? It can be a challenge at times, but my brother and I think alike which makes things much easier.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I enjoy the spring and fall work even though it sometimes feels overwhelming. I also enjoy seeing the sun rise almost every morning.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Always have a backup plan because things can change really fast.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? Just keep upgrading our facilities and equipment as needed. We plan to continue touching up on daily maintenance and potentially upgrading the parlor. We recently remodeled our calf barn, so we are looking into a new, small post-wean barn for the calves.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? I spend most of my free time at my twins’, Tom and Claire’s, games or practices. I love watching them. It keeps our family busy with the kids being active in softball, baseball and lots of hockey.