Dairy Profile

Jim Kemmetmueller of Rogers, Minnesota | Hennepin County | 54

Posted

How did you get into farming? My grandpa bought the farm and started with beef and hogs. Then, my dad took over the farm, and we built the dairy barn in 1984 when I graduated.

What are the most significant ways your farm has changed since you started farming? We put up more sheds and improved the heifer and dry cow facility. Also, we’ve kept up with advancements with equipment.

What was a challenge you faced in your dairy farming career, and how did you overcome it? Putting up with residential sprawl and trying to find another piece of land. I just keep chugging along so I can keep farming. I have been losing land to housing. We were farming 850 acres, and now, we are down to 550 acres.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? We stopped raising a lot of chickens. Now, we just have a small flock of around 200. We also started raising beef. Being diversified and having a little bit of everything has helped us keep going.

What three things on the farm can you not live without? My kids, for sure, because they have always been with me, helping me. We always figured out how to get it done. The skid loader for getting the animals taken care of. The big square baler so we don’t have to deal with all of the small squares.

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? If the milk price doesn’t get better, there is going to be a lot more farmers quitting and leaving. It’s sad for the younger ones because they don’t get the opportunity to farm because they need to work off farm to be able to support a family. I’m grateful I could support a family with my wife who worked out.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? We are raising beef cattle to get an added income. We fine-tuned the cost of things and cut back on input cost in ways that didn’t hurt the milk production. We are breeding with a bull rather than using A.I. to save time and make sure they are getting bred back.

How do you maintain family relationships while also working together? We make a lot of jokes and try to make it fun in the barn. The girls poke fun at me. We have fun and communicate with each other if there is something that bothers each other. If I have a habit they don’t like, they let me know and mock me, which helps keep it light. We also rotate who is at the farm so they all get a day off.

What do you find most rewarding about dairy farming? I enjoy that all my kids are here and come around for dinner and farm. I can see how growing up on the farm has impacted them, because of their school and work capabilities. I’m very proud of my kids. The farm faced many challenges for us all, and it shows in the way the kids are.

Tell us something special about your farm. It’s special for the kids that their grandparents live on the farm and they can talk to them every day. Also, the whole family is close, including my brothers and sisters, and we get together. The community around us is special. Everyone is kind and willing to help.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? For the next year, it’s just to keep going with the farm the way it is. In five years, when the kids get careers off the farm, the dairy will have to go because I won’t be able to do it on my own.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We do a lot of games and random things outside; we are a fairly competitive family. We play the Wii when it’s not nice outside, and we always laugh with each other. We always get dinner for birthdays, and we have dinner once a week with all the kids, even the ones who moved off the farm.

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