Katie Reineking
Plymouth, Wisconsin
Sheboygan County
60 cows

Family: My dad, Steve, and I are on the farm full time, and my mom, Patti, and brother Scott, both work off the farm but also help. I also have my own photography business I do on the side.

Tell us about your farm. We milk 50 Holsteins in a tiestall barn with AIC Expresso automatic take-offs. Our newborn calves are raised on milk replacer in Calf-Tel pens in our heifer barn. They are weaned at about 2 months and are moved to bedded pack pens. At breeding age, they move into free stalls and are bred through A.I. Our dry cows are also housed in this building in free stalls. We raise corn and alfalfa on about 200 acres and store feed in bags and Harvestore silos. We mix a partial mixed ration of corn silage, haylage, high-moisture corn and protein mix, and we top dress the rest of the high-moisture corn and protein. Heifers are fed a total mixed ration and hay. About 75% of the herd are Red and White Holsteins or red carriers and also registered.

What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? My main focus is working with the cows. I do both milkings every day by myself unless I have other commitments. I work with my dad on getting everyone fed and getting the barns cleaned. My mom feeds the calves in the morning and at night, but I check on them, bed them and take care of them as needed. I also do all our breeding and take care of newborns or sick cows as needed. I mix feed for the cows in the afternoon and every other day for the heifers. I bed the pack pens and add sand to the free stalls as needed. I go to sessions in the afternoons or evenings and will work on photography or 4-H dairy things in the afternoon or before I go to bed, depending on the time of year.

What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? I switched from Calf Guard to First Defense Tri-Shield paste on my newborn calves and have had much less incidents of calves getting a bout of scours at 1 week old. They just keep cruising along once they hit the ground now.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. I have a lot of great memories growing up on the farm and spending time with my grandparents and parents, but one of my most memorable is when my dad bought me my first calf at the Great Northern Sales Arena. I was so excited to have a calf of my own and still have many descendants in the barn from her today that are all very special to me.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? Seeing all my hard work and decisions come to fruition and all the people I have met and opportunities I have received.

What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? I’ve been attending World Dairy Expo for many years and always dreamed of being able to grace the colored shavings with one of my own animals. This past fall, I was able to exhibit my first calf at WDE and place in the top half of my class while also being able to be an official photographer for WDE.

What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? I have worked with the Wisconsin Holstein Association princesses and Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair to take pictures for them throughout the year for the past couple of years. I also chair the 4-H junior dairy project for Sheboygan County. I work with others on the committee to put on activities for the kids and work with them throughout the year. I have also been able to cover other events and work for other businesses to help tell their story through pictures I have taken.

What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? Never stop learning and be open-minded.

When you get a spare moment, what do you do? I love to cook and bake when I get the chance and try out new recipes.