Katie Wolf
Bankston, Iowa
Dubuque County
230 cows
Family: Ted and I were married in the fall of 2017 on our farm. Last September, we welcomed our firstborn son, Clayton James.
Tell us about your farm. My husband and I farm alongside his family. The farm has been in Ted’s family since 1930. Clayton is the fifth generation to help on the family farm. We farm 350 acres of corn and alfalfa, and milk 230 cows twice a day in a swing-18 parlor. We raise heifers, steers, hogs and chickens. My husband, brother-in-law, Scotty, and father-in-law, Jim, are full time on the farm. I work for Trans Ova Genetics as a professional services embryologist in addition to helping my husband and caring for our son. I get to travel to satellite centers each week within the central Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois region, which is something I truly enjoy. I love being able to connect with the clients and knowing I can help multiply success in their reproductive program.
What is the busiest time of day for you? Evening. As soon as I finish traveling back from work, I pick up our son from daycare and then head to the barn to help with milking. After evening chores, I start dinner and then get Clayton ready for bed.
When you get a spare moment what do you do? I enjoy being outside. Anything that has to do with soaking up the sun, I am all for it. We also love seeing our family and friends and having them out to the farm.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. The Fourth of July. My husband proposed to me right after evening chores out in the middle of his family’s farm. He led me through the corn field, turned around and before I knew it, he was down on one knee. I was caught so off guard that honestly I thought he fell down and was wanting me to help him up. From the earliest days of dating, I knew if I ever wanted to see this dairy farmer, I better get myself on the farm and work alongside him. For our first Valentine’s Day, we were doing the most romantic thing you could do on that day together, milking cows. I went out that night to bring the rest of the cows up into the holding pen from the freestall barn. As it turned out, one cow got skittish and had a hard time crossing a grate. All of a sudden, this cow jumps over the grate, flinging manure all over me. I was covered head to toe in manure. I came back to the parlor to find Ted and his dad laughing away. With a smirk on my face, I told Ted that if he’d ever second guess my love for him, this was proof I am in it for the long haul.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? There is always something to do. It’s something our family gets to do together. I love knowing that Clayton gets to be a part of this and grow up on the farm working alongside us. Clayton’s grandpa and uncle are already fighting on who gets to have him ride in their tractor this coming spring.
How do you stay connected with others in the industry? Every year I put on the Youth Dairy Classic in northeast Iowa. It is a weekend event that solely focuses on the youth. The event includes judging, kiddie calf, showmanship, a dairy show and a fitting contest. This will be my 10th year organizing the show. In past years, we’ve had over 350 head of cattle with 150 exhibitors from six states. The most rewarding part of the show is getting to know all the exhibitors and their families. It’s a pretty amazing experience that I get to be a small part of.
Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My in-laws. If you looked up all-American family in the dictionary, their names would be next to the definition. No matter how busy they are, they always take time to help their family, neighbors or others in need. They have taught us about living simple and humbly as they have farmed.
If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? Melissa Peterman. Everyone needs a few good laughs, especially with the trying times that farmers experience. She’s hilarious.
What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Some of our closest friends went with us to Jamaica for our honeymoon. It was around New Year’s and a great time to pull away. We went mudding, rode the Segway, climbed a waterfall and even rode a camel.
What are some words you like to live by? Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.