VOLUME 1 | NO. 3
Senior Connections HJ.COM
GRAB ONE -
Historic farm ends dairy operations in
The roots of the Seefeldt family go very deep in the
fields of Lester Prairie. For nearly 150 years through
five generations, the Seefeldts have been dairymen on
the 80-acre farm along Babcock Avenue at the west-
ern edge of Lester Prairie. That long tradition came
to a close Sept. 1, when current owner Paul Seefeldt
ended dairy operations on the farm where he grew
“I’ve been in the barn since I could walk. [As a
little kid] I had a couple Guernseys I’d milk by hand
always,” Seefeldt said.
A chronically painful knee, coupled with the high
cost of needed renovations to the dairy, forced 54-
year-old Seefeldt to make the difficult decision to quit
“It’s a different world now ... but, I don’t know, we
just had that bred in us from young on that we was
always helping ... that they were depending on you.”
The Seefeldt dairy was a Grade B operation, mean-
ing that the milk produced was used for manufac-
Cows had been milked on the Seefeldt farm in Lester
Prairie since the 1870s, before current owner, Paul
Seefeldt, recently made the decision to get out of the
PHOTO BY JAN ENGELHARDT
tured products, such as cheese, rather
than bottled milk for drinking.
Continuing operations would have
required Seefeldt to replace aging metal
stanchions in the milking parlor and in-
vest in a new barn cleaner, in addition
to digging a new well on the farm.
However, current milk prices made
such investments impractical.
“The price just isn’t there. I had neigh-
bors that quit in 1995, and they were
getting $15 [per one hundred pounds of
raw milk], and we’re not even getting
that now,” Seefeldt said, shaking his
head. “I just don’t know.”
The history of the Seefeldt farm il-
lustrates the pioneer heritage and the
evolution of the dairy industry in Min-
Paul’s great-great grandfather, Ju-
lius Seefeldt, homesteaded in the area, Current owner Paul Seefeldt of Lester Prairie is the fifth generation of
dairy farmers on the family farm.
establishing the family farm in 1871.
PHOTO BY JAN ENGELHARDT
Among the early settlers around Lester
Prairie, Julius was one of the founders
For many years, the family sold their milk to local
of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and donated the land creameries using 10- or 20-gallon galvanized metal
for the church’s cemetery.
Julius was succeeded on the family’s dairy farm by
When the creameries discontinued can milk, the
his son, Henry, followed by Paul’s grandfather, Ed, Seefeldts installed a bulk tank in 1980. A milk hauler
and Paul’s father, Arnold, and uncle, Ervin, making arrived every day to pump the milk into the tanker
Paul the fifth generation of Seefeldts to own and op- truck, to be delivered to a local processing plant.
erate the dairy.
Seefeldt continued to use Surge bucket milking
The original dairy barn, torn down years ago, machines operated by a compressed air system, to
stood to the west of the existing barn. The current milk the cows.
building was erected in 1964, the year Paul was born,
The bucket of milk extracted from each cow was
and was constructed by Paul’s uncle, who was also a poured through a stainless-steel strainer into the re-
frigerated bulk tank, so the twice daily 7 a.m. and
The milking parlor contains only 20 stanchions 7 p.m. milking demanded a great deal of bending,
– the number of cows that the 80-acre farm could
More FARM on Pg 11
Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie
Litchfield | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America
Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted