Thursday, January 5, 2012

Meet a Farmer: Nathan Kuehnert

Nathan Kuehnert
Dairy Farmer
Fort Wayne, Indiana

How did you become a farmer?:   Dairy farming is what I grew up doing with family, so I guess you could say “it’s in my blood”.  My brother and I started showing cows through 4-H at a very young age and really learned how to “care” for the cows.  I worked on the farm through all my years in school, and while being away at college I realized how much I missed being at home doing what I loved.

How does your family ensure your cows stay comfortable?:  Nearly every activity that we do on the dairy is centered around one common goal:  To make the cows' lives a little more comfortable.  We have always believed that “a happy, healthy, comfortable cow is a profitable cow”.  We help to achieve this level of comfort in many ways by providing:  a fresh balanced diet of hay, corn, vitamins and minerals every single day, fresh clean water to drink, a meticulously groomed bed of sand to sleep on, big fans to keep air fresh and cool, and a water sprinkler shower on hot days. 

If you weren’t a dairy farmer, what would you do?:  That’s a very interesting question that I honestly think about at times, especially after a full seven day, 100 hour work week.  I believe that I would have become a doctor.  I feel that a doctor would have been a great career fit for me because I love to work under pressure and I really enjoy taking care of our cows that don’t feel well and getting them back to good health.

How many generations work on your farm?:  My brother and I are the 5th generation to dairy farm at this location.  We are really proud that there are currently four generations at the farm on a daily basis.  My grandfather, Melvin, is here every day and is our “do anything man”.  He performs daily tasks like driving tractors and repairing equipment, however his favorite job is giving his great-grandchildren a ride on his ATV.  My father, Alan, and my Uncle Stan manage all of the daily functions on the dairy from feeding the cows to harvesting the crops.  My mother, Cindy, wife, Sarah, and sister-in-law, Brittany, feed all of the baby calves every day, which is probably the most important job.  My brother, Andrew, is in charge of the nutrition and ensures that the cows get a balanced diet every single day.  My main duty is helping to keep the cows healthy and happy by providing the proper care and administering the right medications.  I also manage our cattle reproductive program and make the genetic decisions.  We are also very lucky to have a couple of young men who work with us that are like family:  Kyle Walters, Luke Hesterman, and Colton Brown.   
What is the best thing about being a farmer?:  It’s pretty cool knowing at the end of each and every day that we have worked to provide the world with “Nature’s most perfect food”: MILK.  There is a lot of pride knowing that everything we do is surrounded around one goal:  to make the cleanest, purest, most high quality milk that we can.  And this is all possible by maintaining a healthy, happy cow.    

What is your personal philosophy on farming?:  We strive to feed the world by being good stewards of the land, excellent caretakers of our cows, and great neighbors in our community. 

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