Proud to Carry on the Family Dairy Farming Tradition and Advocate for Dairy
From the Farmer's Tractor
July 9, 2015
by guest columnist Morgan Krause
I am a fifth generation dairy farmer living near Buffalo Minnesota and recently graduated high school. Next fall I will be attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus majoring in Agricultural Education and Animal Science with a dairy emphasis. I am so proud to be part of a longstanding dairy farming tradition, and I am eager to continue my education so that I can continue to enhance our dairy farming business in the years to come.
I also love to share stories about dairy farming whenever I can – my favorite things are cows, kitties and the National FFA Organization (FFA). FFA is the largest student-led organization in the country and focuses on premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education. I was recently elected the Minnesota State FFA Vice President and have an eventful and busy year ahead of me. I will be running a series of leadership camps for younger FFA members, traveling to Washington D.C. for the State Presidents Conference and also traveling abroad during winter break.
My family dairy farm is central to my life. The values of hard work, caring for our cows and being caretakers of the land we live on are values I learned at an early age. I love to help out on the farm whenever I can. If you visit our Facebook page – Krause Holsteins – you will see a variety of selfies and videos I post of my favorite cows and calves. It’s fun to share the world of dairy farming with others who may not have the opportunity to live on or visit a farm like ours.
My favorite thing to do on the farm is work with the young calves. I like to see a newborn calf get started in the world and grow into a milking cow in less than two years. We recently moved our calves into a brand new calf barn that has an automated feeding system. The reason we made this upgrade to our farm is so our calves could enjoy group housing and be able to feed themselves whenever they are hungry. In our previous calf-raising system, each calf lived in an individual hutch (like a big dog house) for about two months and was fed twice a day. In Minnesota, sometimes the harsh winter weather makes it difficult for us to feed the animals, especially when we have heavy snow and wind. Sometimes we spend what seems like hours shoveling the snow out just to get our calves fed.
Our new calf shed has a little starter pen for the newborn calves. They are fed milk out of a bottle for about a week, and then they get a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag, which has a computer chip in it. Over the next two months the calves get introduced to the feeding station, and the computer recognizes them and gives them a specific allotment of milk. Just like the milk we buy in the store our calves get pasteurized milk. The babies are also given calf feed and as much water as they would like. I really like how well they are growing, and they have fun running around with all their friends. This new technology has made life better for the calves and easier on our family in terms of labor.
The best part of growing up on a family farm is the chance to work with my grandfather Warren, my father Charles and my brother Andrew every day. It really is something special to have the chance to work together to produce wholesome and nutritious milk for the consumer. Someone in my family has been milking cows every day for more than one hundred years.
Morgan Krause, 17, is the daughter of Charles and Robyn Krause. She is a fifth generation dairy farmer who lives near Buffalo, Minnesota. She is involved in the National FFA Organization, 4-H, church youth group, soccer and showing dairy cattle. Morgan has been showing cows since she was five years old and enjoys it because it allows her to interact with consumers and promote dairy farming at the fairs.