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Thriving dairy operation to host Breakfast on Farm

Breakfast on the farm, steele county, Medford, Kasper, Kashome Holsteins
The Kasper family representing Kashome Holsteins will be hosting Breakfast on the Farm Saturday morning. The annual event typically draws around 1,200 people. Submitted photo
Rick Bussler, Publisher

The Kasper family of rural Medford considers itself as one of the fortunate ones.

With two sons joining the farm operation several years ago, Scott and Dawn Kasper continue the dairy operation that has been a part of the rural Steele County landscape since 1898. They are one of only 13 dairy operations left in the county.

“It’s sad that we are losing dairy farms as they used to be scattered all over,” said Scott Kasper, noting that just 10 years ago there were 50 operations in Steele County.

Scott explained that dairy farms have basically dwindled because of two major reasons: age of the operators with no one to take over and the age of facilities. Throw in economics and they have all provided disastrous results for the dairy industry leading to steep declines in dairy producers across the state.

But the Kaspers are thriving as sons Patrick and Derrick make up the sixth generation to operate Kashome Holsteins. Three young grandchildren provide hope that the farm may be around for a seventh generation.

“We are fortunate to have our sons take over the farm,” Dawn Kasper said, adding they all live within a mile of the farm.

On Saturday, the Kasper family is opening its farm to give people a glimpse of what goes on while operating a dairy farm as part of the Steele County American Dairy Association’s annual Breakfast on the Farm. A waffle breakfast will highlight the event from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will also be farm tours and kids’ activities.

The Kaspers also hosted the event last year when 1,200 people showed up. And they promise the electrical issues have been fixed to prevent the long delays that happened last year with the waffle irons. 

Dawn Kasper hopes to surpass the 1,200 mark this year. “I hope they bring their families and enjoy the day,” Scott said. Added Derrick, “See what it takes to operate a dairy farm.”

Visitors will have the chance to see 170 milking cows that have led the Kaspers to be the top milk producer in Steele County for the past two years. Their top cow produces 135 pounds or 15 gallons per day. The Kasper herd pumps 2,600 pounds of milk every other day for a total of 4.6 million pounds or 544,000 gallons per year.

Patrick pointed out how many people were surprised by the size of their operation, which is spread out over 20 acres. Dawn said it’s one mile to walk from one end of the farm to the other and back. “You definitely get your steps in,” she said with a smile.

A new addition this year is 30 beef cows, which the Kaspers said they started raising to meet the demand of people wanting to buy quarters and halves of beef.

“Farm to table is really nice,” Dawn said. “They want to come out and see how the animals are raised and what kind of food they are fed.”

Perhaps most importantly, Dawn hopes visitors will go away with one key message after touring their operation.

“Farmers really do care about their animals,” she says.

Free bus transportation for the event will be provided from two locations: Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna and the Medford High School parking lot.

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