From the farm to Dairy Star

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Hello, readers. I am Sarah Middendorf, daughter of Steve and Julie Middendorf. I started working for Star Publications in the middle of February as the special sections coordinator and recently started writing for Dairy Star.

I graduated from North Dakota State University in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science. Now, you may be wondering, what are you doing working for Star Publications with an animal science degree? Well, to be honest, I don’t exactly know how I got here, but I am sure happy I made it.

I get to put my degree to good use when I work on my family’s farm. I tend to spend most of my spare time there. My family milks around 200 cows with three Lely robots near Sauk Centre, Minnesota. 

I am the youngest of five siblings. Along with my siblings, Leah, Ben, Spencer and Zach, I have one brother-in-law, Brad, and two sisters-in-law, Meghan and Alex. I am also blessed to be called auntie by two nieces, soon to be three, and a nephew.

On the farm, you can usually find me helping my mom feed calves, picking eggs or helping my dad or Ben with random chores.

My mom and I have this routine. We feed the calves in the yard before finishing our chores in the barn, which is located on the opposite side of the grove. Once we drive the truck up to the barn and park it, we seem to end up, accidentally, sitting in the truck for way too long talking about the most random things.

When I was younger, growing up on the farm was great, but I didn’t appreciate it like I do now. Some may think my mom and I sitting in the truck talking is a waste of time. To me, this is time I will cherish forever.

Growing up on a dairy farm means long days, early mornings, late nights, hard work, blood, sweat and tears. To me, it also means family, bonding, laughter and endless smiles with those you love.

Being the youngest of five, I learned a thing or two from my siblings. One of these being the best way to cool off on a hot summer day or at least cool off each other. This is otherwise known as having a water bucket fight. Yes, that’s right. I said water bucket.

There were countless times during the summer where we would fill up a water bucket and dump it on each other. We always snuck up behind each other to dump our bucket of water on one another, fully knowing they would get you back for that later.

Another thing I learned from my siblings is how to milk cows at the young age of 7. Back in the day, we milked around 100 cows in a tiestall and stanchion barn while switching around half of them in the back 10 stalls of the barn. For some of my siblings, me being able to learn how to milk meant they didn’t have to anymore. 

The dairy industry has always been a place I like to call home and will continue to be that place for me and for many others.

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