Statz wins heifer, gains a friend

6-year-old takes home Dairy Star’s grand prize

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RICHMOND, Minn. — After seeing Dairy Star’s Great Christmas Giveaway advertised in the paper, Alyssa Statz asked her dad, Jeff, how to register.

“If I won that calf, I would read it a book every night, take care of it and brush its hair,” Alyssa said.

Alyssa will need to start collecting books to read to Sunkist Rompen Layla-Red, the Red & White Holstein calf she won as the grand prize winner in the annual holiday contest. 

Alyssa, 6, and her 4-year-old brother, Brody, help with calf chores as often as they can at their family’s century farm near Richmond. Alyssa’s parents, Jeff and Catherine, along with Jeff’s parents, Ron and Marlene Statz, milk 220 Holsteins in a double-10 parallel parlor. Jeff’s brother, Mark, helps on weekends and during harvest. Together, they farm 550 acres of corn and alfalfa and upland grass hay.

Jeff said this was the first time his children had registered for Dairy Star’s annual contest. Jeff and Catherine kept it a surprise that Alyssa won until they arrived at  Sunkist Acres near Glencoe, owned by the Donnay family, to pick up the prize.

“I told the kids we are going to go look at an animal,” Jeff said. “We all jumped in the truck and didn’t tell the kids until we got to the Donnay farm.”

Once they arrived, Nate Donnay had Layla haltered and ready for the surprise. Jeff and Catherine told Alyssa that she had in fact won the calf. 

Jeff said to say Alyssa was happy would be an understatement.

“I can’t believe I have a calf of my very own,” Alyssa said. “I am so excited. I like that Layla is calm and that she likes me.”

Alyssa said she is looking forward to spending lots of time with Layla over Christmas break and after school every day.

“My favorite part of Christmas is spending time with family and those I love,” Alyssa said. “Layla is now part of our family.”

Statz Family Dairy Farm will now have a little bit of color in their sea of black and white.

“We can’t thank the Donnay family enough for Layla,” Catherine said.

Jeff registered Alyssa’s name at Magnifi Financial in Albany. 

Tom Sedgeman, much like Alyssa, was surprised to learn he was also a winner in Dairy Star’s contest, being awarded the $500 cash prize. Sedgeman and his wife, Joyce, milk 400 cows in a double-8 parallel parlor near Sauk Centre.

It has been a tradition for the Sedgemans to give donations toward charities during this time of year. Since Sedgeman was not the one who registered his name in the drawing, he has decided to pay it forward.

“We give this time of year to various charities that are near and dear to our hearts,” Sedgeman said. “We will use the $500 to increase one of our charitable gifts.”

Sedgeman was registered at Modern Farm Equipment in Sauk Centre. 

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