MN Agriculture: Barb Liebenstein, Wolf Creek Dairy Farm
Day 6 of my “30 Days of MN Agriculture” is Barb Liebenstein of Wolf Creek Dairy farm. Along with Barb and her husband Paul, they milk 400 cows with the help of co-workers. Barb is part of MARL (Minnesota Ag Rural Leadership) Class VIII (the best class ever) along with myself. Wolf Creek Dairy is also known to host tours at their farm, helping bridge the gap between consumers and agriculture. Enjoy her story!
Social Media Sites:
Facebook – Wolf Creek Dairy
Tell me a little about your farm and/or business?
“My husband, Paul and I are dairy farmers. Along with our most excellent co-workers, we milk 400 cows and harvest alfalfa hay and corn for feed for the cows. Mornings are crazy, busy around here. So are a lot of other times of the day.”
How long have you farmed or been in business?
“Paul is a first-generation dairy farmer. He has been milking cows for 39 years and having married the cutest single dairy farmer in our county makes it 29 years for me.”
Tell me a little about what you grown/raise/produce or service provided.
“We raised 2 daughters, Grace and Mary. Grace is a project analyst for the MN Dept of Ag and mostly she is a relief meat and dairy inspector, traveling throughout the state to insure our food supply is one of the safest ones there is. Mary is a senior at the University of MN, Twin Cities campus. She will enter veterinary school in the fall, emphasizing her studies on cows.”
Where do you sell or provide services to? Who is your end consumer?
“We are member owners in a little cooperative named Land O’Lakes. Most of our milk is made into cheese with some of it being dried and sent overseas as dried milk powder.”
What makes your farm/business unique or special? What are you proud of?
“I don’t think we are any more special than the next dairy farm family, but I think all dairy farms and farm families are unique. Just like a Holstein cow, you could search the world over and there would be no two the same. We all do something a little different, from barns to cows to the way we milk cows and raise calves there really is no cookie cutter dairy farming being done. It is really something creative and special that isn’t duplicated from place to place.”
Why do you grow/raise/produce? What went into your decision to do what you do?
“Paul always said Wolf Creek Dairy is the result of a 4-H project that got out of hand. From raising a single steer for beef production as a little kid, to buying the first female calf and deciding to milk her instead of sell her when the time came, Paul has had dairy passion for a long time.”
If there is one thing you could change about farming it would be . . .
“There are so many things that farming is and so many things we can’t control, especially weather which can be extremely cold or hot, making life a little in uncomfortable. The one thing that might be interesting to change is our ability to address every concern our consumers have. In this media world we have many people speaking for farmers when we really need to be the ones answering the tough questions, not someone who “heard” we do things a certain way.”
What is a most embarrassing moment you have had on the farm?
“On our farm if you are late to work and someone has to start for you, the next time you work you have to bring donuts, it is always embarrassing when I am supposed to be setting a good example and I live here and I’m the one having to stop and pick up a dozen donuts. 2:30 a.m. comes early and unfortunately, it has happened more than once in 20 years, and yes we laugh every time.”
What do you love most about farming/business?
“The very best thing about farming is getting to work with Paul and Grace and Mary most every day. What other job lets a family work together? I also have to say that we get to work with some of the greatest people there are, our staff members and our vendors/suppliers.”
What is one thing you wish consumers knew about what you do or your farm/business?
“I wish our consumers knew how much we think of our cows and how important they are to us.”
What is one thing no one knows about your farm/business/product that you would like to share?
“The one thing most people don’t think about is that we live here, which means that we are in the barn every day 7 days a week for 5-12 hours/day depending on the day.”
What are your customers? Or what would you like to tell your customers?
“Although we don’t produce all the world’s milk we do have milk though out the entire chain, so that makes everyone who enjoys milk, cheese, yougurt, etc. our customer.”
What makes Minnesota the place to farm/grow/raise/produce/service?
“The biggest reason Minnesota is such a great place to dairy farm is water. We are so blessed to live somewhere that has an abundant water supply. Something we don’t take for granted, but rather, work hard to recycle and reuse whenever possible so that we can retain this great resource.”
What is one thing about Minnesota that people from other areas do not know about or are missing because they don’t live here?
“I’d rather not say or everyone would want to live here.”
What is your favorite Minnesota location?
“Probably like a majority of Minnesotans it is tough to beat our own Great Lake, Gittche Gumee.”
What is one ag-related place in Minnesota that others need to know about. What is one non-ag related place in Minnesota that others need to know about and why?
“The non-ag related place in MN is the Iron Range. This is the original melting pot of MN. We have Italians, Finns, Czechs, Irish, etc all in one place trying to make a living out of a hole in the ground.
The ag-related place in MN is all around us. The entire state, especially central, western and southern MN are so rich and diverse in agriculture it would seem unfair to pick out one area. We are really blessed to live in the breadbasket of the Mid West.”
Read the other people featured in my “30 Days of MN Ag. ”
There are others that are also participating in the 30 Days of Blogging Challenge. Feel free to check these out: