Mindi Arendt
Mazeppa, Minn.; Wabasha County
600 cows

Family: I live on our family dairy farm with my husband, Nate, and our four children, Makayla, 17, Jakalyn, 15, Zakary, 14, and Bakster, 10.
Tell us about your farm. Our family dairy was established in the late 1870s. My husband is the fifth generation. We milk 600 Holsteins and run about 800 acres for forage.
What is the busiest time of day for you? On the farm, mornings are the busiest for me. It’s when I’m in the barn doing calf chores, doing reproduction checks and giving vaccinations. In the afternoon, it slows down and I can focus on office work. On the home front, evenings are the busiest because our kids are active in extra-curricular activities.
When you get a spare moment, what do you do? I support and cheer on our kids and their teammates at their sporting events. I also coach ninth grade volleyball and co-coach our youngest son’s basketball team.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. One that stands out is when a handful of us were covering a corn silage pile at midnight in an extreme down pour. We were drenched before we ever started. But it is amazing what you can get done when everyone has the same goal in mind.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? Dairy farming is a great life. The values it has taught my kids are tremendous. It is also a job that keeps life interesting. No two days are the same. There are always new challenges. Dairy farming is also rewarding. You meet many wonderful people that share the same passion as you. As dairy farmers we get to provide consumers with a wholesome, high quality product. It is always fun giving tours to consumers, especially the kids. Their expressions and questions are priceless.
How do you stay connected with others in the industry? One way is attending seminars and conferences, such as ones put on by Minnesota Milk. Publications and social media keep me in the know, plus I have great conversations with people within the industry who are at the farm. I also am a member of the Wabasha County American Dairy Association Board, where I assist with our county dairy princess program, and I was elected to the Minnesota division of the Midwest Dairy Board.
Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My husband. He has taught me so much about the dairy industry. I started out as a city girl that swore she would never marry a farmer or live in the country. Now I wouldn’t trade either. My knowledge of dairy has grown tremendously.
If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? Oprah Winfrey. It amazes me at how many people she influences, especially mothers. And I would say a huge consumer base for our dairy industry is moms. Kids may help their moms make the decisions on what to put in the cart, but I still think moms have the final say.
What is the best vacation you have ever taken? Anything that involves time with the family. The quick, last minute trips to the lake in Wisconsin are always fun.
What are some words you like to live by? Always be you. Work hard, play hard. Life is short, so smile and don’t sweat the small stuff.