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To John and Joan Maxwell, sustainability means caring for the land to pass on to the next generation, and more importantly, sharing learnings to continue to elevate agriculture as a whole.
Multi-generation Midwest dairy farmer champions – Michael Johnson, Melisa Konecky, Evan Metzger and Darcy Steffes – talk about the importance of connecting with people to share their farm family stories.
Brian Schanbacher has been dairy farming ever since he can remember. He grew up working alongside his parents and grandparents on his mom’s home farm; a farm that has been in his family for more than 150 years. Brian and his wife, Kristen, now have the same opportunity to dairy farm alongside his parents and raise their family in Iowa.
Steve and Lisa Groetsch from Albany, Minnesota, began dairy farming together after they were married in 1989. Starting with 40 cows in a stall barn, they always had an eye to the future and making improvements to the dairy to benefit their farm, their cows and their family.
Margaret Johnson’s love for dairy began at a young age. “Early on we were required to do chores around the farm,” said Margaret, “It became a special time for me to spend time with my dad.”
For Rodney and Dorothy Elliott, sustainability comes in many forms. It means caring for the environment, caring for their animals, and providing a good living for their family, employees and local businesses.
Blake and Chicky Otte started Square Deal Dairy in 1997 with the hopes of continuing the farm for generations. Fast forward 20 years and they are now farming with the help of their three sons Tyler, Bret and Eric. Their commitment to sustainability and planning for the future earned them the honor of being named Minnesota Milk Producers Association’s 2016 Dairy Farm Family of the Year.
Sometimes technology can get in the way of time spent together during the holidays, but not for this family! Thanks to the help of farming robotics, the family behind New Day Dairy has the flexibility they need to spend more time together.