What started with a humble beginning of just 60 cows in a rented barn, one tractor and two brothers living in a mobile home in Menahga, Minnesota, has grown into a thriving first-generation dairy operation.
Twin brothers, Mike and Mark Spadgenske, along with Mark’s wife Kristine, started Spadgenske Dairy in 1994 and today, have four full-time employees, including Mark and Kristine’s son Ryan, and two part-time employees. This team of devoted farmers milks 350 cows twice a day and farms 1,000 acres of hay as well as 400 acres of corn.
The Spadgenkes credit their success to lessons they have learned along the way from both failures and victories. They have used their passion and experience to create a viable, sustainable dairy in an ever-changing world, both domestically and globally. They strive to be a superior dairy committed to producing wholesome milk for families while providing excellent care for the cows and the land. And they’re not afraid to think outside of the box to try new things that could improve their operation.
Committed to both their animals and the environment, the Spadgenske family believes creating innovative and proactive practices that include implementing a nutrient management plan, producing quality feed, rotating crops on a yearly basis and recycling used water. All of these things demonstrate the farm’s commitment to sustainability and their dedication to caring for the land and animals.
Both Mark and Kristine are very active in the dairy industry including participation in Dairy Day at the Capitol, lobbying in Washington D.C., Minnesota Milk Dairy Conference and Expo, dairy management workshops and serving the local American Dairy Association as president and treasurer.
Church, school and community are also important to the family, and they are an example of how to live life to its fullest and to be there to help where and however they can in their community. The entire family is active in 4-H and FFA as well as the annual Midsummer Celebration at the county fair. The Spadgenske Dairy has an open-door policy and loves giving tours of the dairy, with their favorite being the annual fall trip from the Menahga first graders.
The Spadgenske family is passionate about life on the farm and grateful they have the opportunity to be part of the dairy community. Their greatest achievement, they say, is being able to raise their children on the farm and watch their kids’ passion and enthusiasm for farming grow each day.