Karen Timm, pictured with her daughter Madalynn
Plainview, Minn.
Winona County
110 cows

Family: My husband, Duane, and I have four children: Rebecca, 27, is a calf manager on a nearby dairy; Brittany, 25, is DMS at MUSC in Charleston, S.C.; Aaron, 23, is a test engineer for Kuhn-Knight in Brodhead, Wis.; and Madalynn, 18, is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tell us about your farm. We have 400 acres, 240 of which we purchased from Duane’s parents. We milk in a double-8 parallel parlor that Duane and I put in July 2010. We raise our heifers, and our bull calves are sold at weaning. We also have 20 Angus cows.

What is the busiest time of day for you? Mornings are the busiest time of day for me. I start by feeding calves in hutches and the youngstock on the farm where we live. I then drive to our dairy down the road and take over milking so Duane can scrape and bed the freestall barn, and mix feed. After cleaning up and taking care of any newborns, I finish feeding the youngstock at another farmsite.

When you get a spare moment what do you do? Between morning and evening chores, I run errands, make dinner, do bookwork and household chores, along with yardwork in the summer. I enjoy gardening and reading if time allows.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. The night we were going to put our cows through the parlor for the first time, two of our kids each haltered one of their fair cows and walked in on each side of the new parlor. I also have a lot of great memories of milking with our kids. We had a lot of great conversations and spent a lot of time together in the barn.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? I enjoy being able to work alongside my family on the dairy, and our kids learning the value of hard work. I enjoy working with the animals and being outdoors. This time of year, I catch some amazing sunrises and sunsets while feeding calves.  

How do you stay connected with others in the industry? Our children showed dairy cattle at the fair through 4-H, so we got to know a lot of dairy farming families that way. Also, Rebecca and our niece, Mandy, are both active in the dairy industry, so bouncing ideas and questions at them happens frequently. We also try to attend the farm show in Rochester, Minn.

Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My parents. They showed me it takes hard work and determination to be a dairy farmer. They also showed me that it’s important to take time for the kids, like shooting some baskets on a Sunday afternoon or taking a walk in the woods.

If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? I would give a tour to Michelle Obama. Her platform to get children to eat healthier and be more active would be the perfect pairing for promoting healthy dairy products.

What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken? When the kids were younger, we would go to Wisconsin Dells, Wis. We could pack a lot into a two-night stay and be close enough to home to get back quickly if needed.

What are some words you like to live by? Try to find laughter and positivity in each day. It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing.