Thursday, January 8, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture:

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Established in the 1890’s, Kuehnert Dairy Farm is a sixth-generation family farm.  “Today the fourth and fifth generations work here daily, and the sixth generation plays here every day,” Sarah Kuehnert says.  “We are very privileged to have four generations all working together daily to produce you with one of nature’s most perfect foods—milk!  We take great pride in the work we do to provide you with the purest, most high-quality, and nutritious milk that we can.  This is all possible by maintaining a healthy, happy cow.”

Sarah, a registered dietitian, is a fifth-generation dairy farmer and mother to Allie, 7 and Bryar, 5.  She was born and raised in Decatur on a dairy farm that her parents, Gregg and Alison Kukelhan continue to operate today along with Sarah’s brothers, Royce and Bryce.  Sarah’s husband, Nathan, is a fifth-generation dairy farmer as well.  “When Nathan and I got married in 2005, we built a house on his family’s dairy farm.”

Kuehnert Dairy Farm is located just a stone’s throw away from the city limits of Fort Wayne.  Currently, they milk 320 registered Holsteins and farm 1100 acres of corn, alfalfa, soybeans and rye; all of which is used to feed the cows.  In September of 2014, Kuehnert’s transitioned into robotic milking with the installation of four Lely Astronaut milking robots. 

In the fall of 2013, Kuehnert Dairy Farm opened its operations as an agritourism venture to the general public by hosting its 1st Annual Kuehnert Dairy Fall Festival.  “The festival gives people an opportunity to experience the daily operations of a working dairy farm as well as provides a variety of fall entertainment for all ages to enjoy, “Sarah explains.  “It is our passion to share our farm, family, and cows and to tell others our family farm story.  We want consumers to see what life is like on a dairy farm, how we care for our cows and the land.  It is our desire to educate the general public, so that they know the importance of milk in a healthy diet.  It is a joy to see children playing and interacting with their parents and grandparents while enjoying the festival.  We are trying to do our part to cultivate healthy lifestyles by promoting positive family time and outdoor physical activity in a unique educational environment.”

There are four generations working on Kuehnert Dairy Farm every day.  Sarah shares that her hope is that her children will have the same profound love for agriculture and the dairy cow as she and Nathan.  “We were both raised on dairy farms where our families worked hard every day to produce nutritious food to help feed the world.  We have great respect for the land and cattle that God has so graciously given to us."

As a Registered Dietitian, Sarah stresses that consuming three servings of dairy every day is important for building strong bones and healthy bodies and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.  “It is so important to me that consumers know where their food comes from, that they know it is safe to eat, and how food nourishes their bodies.  And, having grown up on a dairy farm myself, I have a special love for the dairy cow and milk.  So, here is my motto: As a dairy farmer, registered dietitian, and a mother, I know how important it is to get at least three servings of dairy every day.  It all starts with milk!  We drink it.  We use it as an ingredient and we make a lot of other products from it.  I believe it is important for people of all ages to know the importance of milk in their daily lives.  One 8-ounce glass of milk provides these minimum daily allowances: 30% Calcium, 25% Vitamin D, 24% Riboflavin, 16% Protein, 13% Vitamin B12, 11% Potassium, 10% Vitamin A, and 10% Niacin.  That’s just one 8-ounce glass of milk!  Milk is not just a cool, nutritious, thirst-quenching drink, it is truly one of nature’s purest gifts!”

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