ROYALTON, Minn. – Good help is hard to come by, but Roger and Julie Lanners feel they have struck a gold mine with Zachary Fuchs.
    Royalton High School senior Fuchs has climbed the ranks at the Lanners’ farm and earned the responsibility of lead milker on their 375-cow dairy near Royalton, Minn. Fuchs first milked a cow in August 2016 and now milks almost every evening.
     “It’s easy and I like it,” said Fuchs about milking cows. “I understand it. It makes sense to me.”
    Fuchs is one of eight full- and part-time milking employees at the dairy. They milk in a swing-21 parlor twice a day.
    While Fuchs usually milks during the evening, he is willing to pitch in whenever needed, often helping with morning chores before school and on weekends even when he is not scheduled.
    “I just want to do the best job I can,” said Fuchs about his goals on the Lanners’ farm.
    Fuchs’ father was a previous employee of the Lanners and encouraged Fuchs to reach out about a possible position.
    The Lanners are always looking for employees who can grow on their farm, and when Fuchs approached the couple about employment, he fit the bill.
    “It’s good for [Fuchs] to have a job here and it also is good for us,” Julie said.
    At the time, the student employee was working with a construction company but looking for a more consistent source of income through the winter to become financially prepared for college.
    At school, Fuchs is welding a trailer and finds he enjoys that kind of work. He plans to further develop his welding skills at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn.
    “I want to keep milking cows until I can weld full time,” Fuchs said. “I like milking cows, and it’s a great job to have while I work towards my goals because milking requires patience, just like welding.”
    Fuchs still has several months of employment on the dairy before he leaves town for college, but his anticipated leave has been on Julie’s mind often.
    “He does a really good job,” she said. “I’m going to miss him when he’s not here.”
    Fuchs has a variety of responsibilities on the farm in addition to milking. During his work shift, Fuchs feeds calves, switches groups of cows and works with fellow employees. He has also been trained to spot health issues in animals and can treat them within the responsibilities of his position.
    “When I started here I was just a milker,” Fuchs said. “Now I’ve worked here three years and Julie trusts me, so I’m lead milker during a shift and also have other responsibilities, like setting up and getting the cows.”
    Julie agreed.
    “He has shown loyalty, something a lot of employees don’t show,” she said. “I trust him to do a good job and if something is wrong he will let me know.”
    While Fuchs’ list of responsibilities continues growing at the Lanners’ farm, his favorite activity remains milking.
    Fuchs’ dedication and interest in the farm has not gone unnoticed. The Lanners are pleased with Fuchs as an employee, especially given his age.
    “Not many kids would get up at 5 a.m. to come to work and help feed calves in the cold during the winter,” Julie said. “He always is striving to do his very best.”
    Fuchs humbly added his work on the farm would not be possible without the trust the Lanners have placed in him.
    “I have learned a lot about dairy cows because of this job, and I’m glad they let me work for them,” Fuchs said.