One-On-One with Stephanie Tienter Harmony, Minnesota, Fillmore County, Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association

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Tell us about yourself and your family. I have two children. My daughter Kelsey is married and lives just west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They raise beef and crop farm. She has three children: Ainsley, Beau and Keira. My son, Brennan, is employed at Mulhern Dairy. He has various tasks from helping to take care of the youngstock to chopping. The things I enjoy doing are driving out to see my daughter and her family. I enjoy working on puzzles, reading and trying new projects on my Cricut.

How many years have you been working for the Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association? I started working with DHIA in November 2013, so I’ve just finished my 10th year.

How many farms do you test for and in what area of Minnesota? I work for two counties in southeastern Minnesota, Fillmore County and Mower County, and currently, I have 29 herds.

How has your occupation changed during your career? My occupation hasn’t changed too much in the last 10 years. The biggest change I’ve seen is on-farm technology.

What does a typical day look like for you? There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. No two days are ever the same.

How do you adapt to the varying hours your work requires? You don’t so much adapt to the varying hours you work. You more roll with it. When you’re home, you try and get things done when you can and maybe somedays sneak a little nap in.

What do you enjoy about your job? The thing I enjoy most about my job is the different people I get to see and interact with every day. There isn’t a farm I don’t enjoy going to and can’t have a nice conversation and fun at. The farmers and their employees are a great team to work with. There have been many new people I have met and formed friendships with. 

Tell us the most unique experience you have had while testing. While I was testing one morning, I had a family ask me if I wanted to go on a girls’ trip with them to Nashville, so of course I went. We had a lot of fun, and I am thankful they asked me.

When testing at farms, what are your favorite subjects to talk about? While testing at farms we cover a lot of subjects: current events, family, friends, holidays, local get-togethers and weddings — we cover it all.

If money was not an object, what is the best vehicle to drive for your job? If money wasn’t an object, I would say the best vehicle to drive for my job would be a four-wheel drive vehicle, something I can put all of my equipment in so I don’t have to keep unloading and reloading when I’m home to set up for the next farm I’m going to. Sometimes after a long day that’s the last thing you want to do. 

What is your favorite dairy product? In our household, we go through a lot of milk, cottage cheese, string cheese and shredded cheese.

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