A view from future farmers

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Preston Marshik
Parents: Russ and Cindy Marshik
14 years old
Pierz, Minnesota
Tell us about your family’s farm. We milk 200 cows and farm 720 acres of land that is owned and rented. We finish our bull calves for steers and raise our heifers as replacement cows. We rotate between alfalfa and corn on the land. There are also two poultry barns and about 40 beef cows with calves for the pastures.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I milk cows in the morning. In the evening, I push in feed for the calves, load the cows, scrape the alleys and feed calves. Then, for fieldwork, I do a lot of hauling manure, cutting hay and other various jobs.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I enjoy watching the cattle grow and jump around when they get fresh bedding. Driving the tractor is also one of my favorites about dairy farming.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? One job is hauling manure because I like seeing how full I can fill the spreader.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? My farm would probably be similar to what our family farm is now.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? I admire my parents and how they are able to keep things running smoothly each day.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? One of the biggest changes on our farm is putting up two pivots on dry land that we acquired recently. This year is our first crop with it. Also, we started using wheel loaders for mixing a few years back.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? In the future, the dairy industry might be bigger with better technology and less manual work.

Hunter Offer
Parents: John and Shauna Offer
13 years old
Auburndale, Wisconsin
Tell us about your family’s farm. We have about 50 Ayrshires, Holsteins and Milking Shorthorns milking, mostly registered Ayrshires. We farm about 350 acres, growing corn, oat and alfalfa hay. I also have some ducks, chickens, rabbits and goats.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I pretty much help with everything, whatever needs to be done. I help milk, feed calves, bring cows in, fieldwork and take care of my other animals.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? It is always exciting to see what you get from your mating decisions every time a new calf is born. I like watching them grow and seeing what you might have to be able to show.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I have been able to do a lot of things because of the farm. I have been able to participate in activities and win some awards. I have also been able to start making some money from my dairy cows and my other animals.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? It would pretty much be a lot like my parents’ farm, a small family farm. I would like to crop about 350 to 400 acres and milk 50 or so cows.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? They have always helped me a lot. They have taught me how to do everything I know how to do on our farm. They have taught me how to pick out good show calves. They have taught me how to breed and mate my animals correctly.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? We have added in a couple of Milking Shorthorns and are getting more involved with that breed.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? I think input cost prices will continue to go up, and hopefully, milk prices will continue to go up with them too.

Brock Marthaler
Parents: Ken and Tiffany Marthaler 
13 years old
Osakis, Minnesota
Tell us about your family’s farm. We have a dairy and grain farm. My dad is a third-generation farmer on our farm.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I help with morning and afternoon chores. I clean mangers, feed calves, bed the cows and calves, and help feed hay.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I like moving and sorting cattle because of the challenge. Cattle have a mind of their own, so it keeps you on your toes.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I like when my dad lets me bale hay. I like knowing that I’m helping to provide for the cattle.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? I’d like to have beef cattle and run my dad’s land. I’d like to farm with my brother, Bailey.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? I admire them for their work ethic and their willingness to get work done even in the most difficult weather conditions.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? I’d have to say upgrading tractors and implements like the manure spreader, planters, round baler, etc.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? Family farms will continue to die out, and large dairies will continue to pop up. My family’s farm is only one of two dairy farms left in our township.

Matthew Scheffler
Parents: Tony and Maizie Scheffler
14 years old
Zumbrota, Minnesota
Tell us about your family’s farm. My family’s dairy farm milks 150 Holsteins and a few Jerseys. We raise alfalfa and corn for silage.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I mix all the feed for the cows, dry cows and heifers. I also spend time in the shop fixing things.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I enjoy showing our dairy animals at the fair. Also, I like seeing the milk weights after I do a good job feeding the cows.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I put a new engine in our International Harvester 3688 with the help of a family friend. Also, I bought a 3D printer so I can make plastic parts for the equipment around the farm.
If you had a farm when you grew up, what would it look like? I would farm 200 acres with two robots. I would have Holsteins. I would have a big heated and air-conditioned shop. I would have all Case IH tractors and a Kubota skid loader.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? My mom and dad coach our 4-H dairy judging team. They know what good animals should look like. It makes it fun to milk our cows because they look nice.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? We quit using the Harvestore silos. We wet bale and wrap all of our hay. The hay smells so nice, and mixing goes so much faster. The cows seem healthier and milk more.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? The dairy industry in the future will be more automated. You will see more on-farm processing, cheese making, ice cream and bottled milk.

Hessel Andringa
Parents: Sietse and Aafke Andringa
15 years old
Castlewood, South Dakota
Tell us about your family’s farm. My parents moved from Alberta, Canada, to South Dakota in 2003 and started dairying on our farm. We currently milk between 1,800 to 2,000 head and own a total of about 3,500 head. We raise all of our own forages and chop all of the silage ourselves.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I help with a lot of the mechanical stuff and feed the cows on Saturdays when our feeder has the day off. I also help with silage harvest by hauling silage with a tractor and a wagon.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I really enjoy working with all of the equipment.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? During the COVID-19 lockdown, I had a lot of extra time, so I was put in charge of the calf barn. It was the first time that I had been given that much responsibility.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? It would look a lot like ours, only not quite so big. I would have a total of 2,000 head at the most.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? Their determination to keep on going even when milk prices get really bad.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? In 2019, we switched the majority of our herd from being milked in a parlor to being milked with robots. We now have a total of 24 milking robots.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? I think a lot of the industry will continue to become more and more automated. We will continue with the trend that we are seeing now.



Cody Post
Parents: Grant and April Post
17 years old
Chandler, Minnesota
Tell us about your family’s farm. We milk 200 Holsteins in a double-6 step-up parlor. We raise corn, soybean, alfalfa and rye. We produce all of our own forages.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I feed the heifers at night and do anything else Dad tells me. I also help with milking and fieldwork.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I like the diversity. I enjoy being with the cows and working with the crop side of the operation. I am honored to make the delicious, healthful dairy products we can all enjoy.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I recently learned how to A.I. the cows. I have been doing it more and more and am getting better all the time.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? We would store all of our forages in piles for our dairy cows. I would farm about 1,000 acres and have enough yard space to raise all of my bull calves as steers.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? They are always trying to do the best they can and grow the herd. They don’t get angry easily. They meet the obstacles head-on and keep going.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? We have grown the herd very well through correct breeding. We also started putting our silage in piles instead of bagging it.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? There are going to be bigger dairies. There will be as much automation as possible to help reduce the need for manpower.

Jaron Begert
Parents: Brian and Kari Begert
13 years old
Neillsville, Wisconsin
Tell us about your family’s farm. We milk over 600 cows in a double-12 Boumatic parlor.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I have to push around feed and do whatever else needs to be done.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I like to get stuff done that needs to get done and be part of the dairy industry.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? One of my jobs is pushing feed, and I am proud of doing that because it is very important.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? My farm would be very organized and it would be big.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? I am proud that my parents are dairy farmers.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? The biggest change we have made is when we built our big barn.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? There will not be as many farms, but they will be big farms that are very efficient.

 

Bo Killian
Parents: Steve and Amanda Killian
13 years old
Blair, Wisconsin
Tell us about your family’s farm. We are a family farm, and we milk 75 Holsteins and Jerseys. We also raise breeding bulls. Our farm is 370 owned acres.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. I feed calves, help with milking and feed cows. I like to fix things, too, like water cups, the battery charger and lights in the barn. I’m pretty much like a typical farm hand.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I like having a place to get away from town and people.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I like to feed calves and see them grow up and get into the barn. Outside of regular responsibilities, I replaced knives in the Haybine and helped put the liner in the chopper.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? I hope to inherit this farm. I do not want to expand, but I would like to put concrete in some places and add some buildings.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? Their ability to do everything they do on a daily basis. On other farms, they need more people to do things like the nutrition work, and my parents can do everything all around.
What has been the biggest change your family has made on the farm? We built a heifer shed a while ago and purchased some tractors.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? It’s hard to say, because with the current technology, John Deere and Case are building self-driving tractors. There will be more robotics in dairy farming.


Lydia Fink
Parents: Keith and Laura Fink
16 years old
Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Tell us about your family’s farm. We milk about 40-45 cows. We milk a majority of Jersey cows, some crosses and one Ayrshire. Our cows go out to pasture during the summer and spend the winter in our tiestall barn. I also raise chickens and sell eggs. Every spring, I start a bunch of plants and flowers in my greenhouse to be sold at my plant sale in early May.
Describe your responsibilities on the farm. My dad calls me the herd manager. I do raise heifers for the first months of their lives, giving grain, bedding and hay. I also prep cows before being milked and feed the newborn calves for the first day or two before my dad takes over.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I love working with and around God’s creation. I also like knowing that I’m helping to produce a healthy, quality product for others. With growing up on a farm, you experience so much more, whether it be life coming into the world or sad experiences.
Since you started helping on the dairy farm, what is a job that you have done that you are proud of? I’m proud of a pasture too full of beautiful heifers that I’ve been given to raise.
If you have a farm when you grow up, what would it look like? I’d love to stay on my current farm. We’d be bottling and selling our own milk. I also think it would be nice to have a better overall quality of cow. I also have an interest in poultry, chickens, maybe some ducks, geese and turkeys and even a peacock. I also wouldn’t mind having a couple Nubian goats and a horse to ride. Also, a 1954 International half-ton pickup.
What do you admire about your parents as dairy farmers? My parents haven’t given up farming. There have been harder times, like when my mom had to start working off of the farm for extra income, but God has gotten us through them all. I am also thankful for the commitment my parents have to each other and all things they’ve allowed me to do, like participating in Dairy Day at the MOOseum.
What has been the biggest change your family has done on the farm? We switched from feeding the calves milk replacer to feeding them whole milk. The calves grow very well drinking it.
What do you think the dairy industry will look like in the future? There will probably not be a lot of small, family owned and operated dairy farms. There’s also the increasing chance of more rules and regulations with animal welfare. I’m glad there are still a lot of people who appreciate the farmers and the product we work to produce.





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