Senior Connections Senior Connections Oct. 2018

Connecting Seniors Through News, Information, and Advertising October 2018 VOLUME 1 | NO. 3 Senior Connections HJ.COM GRAB ONE - FREE! Historic farm ends dairy operations in Lester Prairie JAN ENGELHARDT Correspondent 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 up. “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 milking. “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 milk business. 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- nesota. 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. milk cans. 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- carpenter. 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 support. Senior More FARM on Pg 11 Connections is distributed to: 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