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Today’s Farm FALL 2021

Tim Middagh / The Globe

Bison graze in the pasture at Brewster Bison, operated by Russell and Ann Obermoller, on Sept. 9.

Finding their niche: Brewster Bison bvl;;ঞm]7;l-m7=ouѴ;-ml;-| BY JULIE BUNTJER The Globe

BREWSTER — When Russell and Ann Obermoller’s youngest son, Kurt, told them he wanted a career in farming, the rural Brewster couple knew they’d have to grow more than corn and soybeans to increase their earning potential. And while most farmers might consider raising beef cattle or hogs, the Obermollers chose instead to raise bison. That was four years ago. Today, the Obermollers have a successful homebased business raising bison and marketing the

meat under their label, Brewster Bison. While neither Russell nor Ann had experience in raising livestock, Kurt and his cousin fed out bottle calves on their ag teacher’s farm while in high school. “(Kurt) really likes livestock,” Russell said. As bison rose to the top of their list of options, the family turned to the Minnesota Bison Association for information. “They have so much information on how to get started and what you need,” Russell said. “The people in the association are really great about

helping with questions and getting you hooked up with someone.” For the Obermollers, help came from rural Wilmont bison grower Eric Joens, who has been a great mentor, Russell shared. “Eric was telling us some things he learned — he saved us a lot of mistakes,” Russell added. The Obermollers purchased their first bison in February 2018 while Kurt was still attending vo-tech school. The 10 bred cows came from the Rapid City, South Dakota area. “My two- to three-year plan was to get to 25,

and we hit 25 in about six months,” Russell said. “It’s grown a lot faster than I was expecting.” “The demand is there for the meat,” Ann added. Today, Brewster Bison is home to 26 cows, with two breeding bulls they purchased from Joens. They feed out all their own animals for either breeding or processing. To supplement what they calve on their farm, they purchase additional calves to feed out for processing. Bison cows have a ninemonth gestation, and typically calve once a year.

Julie Buntjer / The Globe

$QQ DQG 5XVVHOO 2EHUPROOHU SXUFKDVHG WKHLU ĆUVW bison four years ago as a way to bring their son, Kurt, into their rural Brewster farming operation. Today, they raise a bison herd and market bison meat to BREWSTER: Page 4 consumers direct from their farm.




Meat or plant-based protein and the confusion for consumers WORTHINGTON — Where is the beef? This was a famous saying in the 1980’s advertising campaign for the Wendy’s franchise fast food company. Today you can ask the same question in a different way. Is that meat or a plant-based protein burger? I want to give everyone some facts and opinions on plant-based proteins and meat-based proteins to clear up some misdirected statements and ideas. According to Tyron Wickersham, who wrote an article for the Fort Worth Star recently, there are activists who are well-intentioned but have created a misinformed movement of environmental activists, celebrities, politicians and athletes. These groups are spreading non-factual ideas and half truths about the beef industry and meat consumption. Wickersham goes on to support his article by showing scientific facts that beef is a healthy protein source of food to consume. He also goes on to support his opinion with



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other facts that prove removing beef from our diets would not improve overall human health or improve the world ecosystems and climate. Another article written by Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Frank Mitloehner states that the cattle industry has become so efficient that it produces the same processed pounds today with onethird fewer animals than in the 1970’s. The biggest deception society has today, according to Mitloehner, is the methane gas myth. He writes that one cannot compare a cow to a car and think the atmosphere can be saved without a cow. In the U.S., 80% of all greenhouse gases stem from the use of fossil fuels in transportation, power production/use and the cement industry. U.S. livestock, meanwhile, emits

approximately 4% of all greenhouse gases, according to the EPA. In terms of types of greenhouse gases, the methane that livestock produces is considered a flow gas, meaning more is produced, but it has a much shorter halflife than fossil fuels. If you prefer to inform yourself on a video or podcast, TED talks has a good presentation from Allan Savory titled, “How to fight desertification and reverse climate control.” He basically is trying to convince a scientific world there is proof we have all been trying to tackle climate control the wrong way. This includes strategies that would argue for beef, sheep and goat production to increase while we watch climate adversities begin to recede. Now for some of the plant based protein facts and opinions. Most plant based products have landed on grocery store shelves and restaurant plates by now. These newer plant based companies’ promotional tactics are clear, they want your business. Let’s review one example

— the Beyond Meats company website states its mission is to shift from animal- to plant-based meat, positively impacting four growing global issues. They are proclaiming a healthier lifestyle, a cleaner climate, using less global resources and improving animal welfare. When your company is a plant-based company, that goal is completely understandable and correct. These new start-up plant-based companies with their growing investor groups are attempting to change the way we eat and live, while making a profit. This, ladies and gentlemen, is free America and how entrepreneur business works in our society. As you can see by now, there is a difference in opinion between meat producers and plant-based

companies. The beef, pork and chicken industries request a fairer playing field. They have suggested lawmakers introduce a new bill that requires products be labeled with better clarity. They claim that sausage is identified to the general public as a meat product and that plant-based products should have a different identity name. They would like a defined product name for both meatand plant-based products posted on all packages. Plant based products have been using the terms patties/burgers, nuggets and sausage, confusing some consumers. They have also asked for research from the USDA on the ingredients used to make plant-based products. They want proof that there is a healthy benefit to consuming a plant

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protein source before it is advertised and promoted as better than meat (currently there are studies that support both industries). These seem like reasonable requests, to know the facts about what we are eating and what is harming our environment. I have two questions for you today. First off, do you have a preference for what you buy? Second, do you really know what you are eating? I prefer a beef hamburger while others prefer only plant-based proteins and some may not care at all. Time will show us how both industries adapt and change to survive. That is what is great about America, we get to support whomever we want with our purchases. Purchasing either product discussed in this article is still supporting a farmer who raised an animal or a field of vegetables. Next time you are talking with a farmer, thank them for their efforts. The U.S. still has the most abundant and safe food supply in the world.




Soybean gall midge hurts southwest Minnesota crops and yields BY KARI LUCIN The Globe

WORTHINGTON — A tiny orange fly with banded legs has advanced into southwest Minnesota, laying eggs near the base of soybean plants — and when they hatch, larvae devour the stem, leaving plants weakened, wilted or simply dead. Meet the soybean gall midge, a nasty insect that made its way into southwest Minnesota in 2018. “It’s a devastating little pest if it gets established and you have a high infestation rate,” said Bruce Potter, University of Minnesota Extension integrated pest management specialist at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center near Lamberton. The soybean gall midge is also new, and that means researchers are still investigating exactly how it lives and how to fight it. “We first discovered that it was actually a pest of soybeans in 2018,” said

Potter, explaining that previously, researchers had believed it was coming in after plants were already injured. But when midge numbers blew up, scientists determined the insects themselves were causing the damage. “It was a new insect to science, so it had never been identified before or described before.” In 2018, the midges had infested fields in Rock County in southwest Minnesota and Lyon, O’Brien and Clay counties in northwest Iowa. In 2019 they moved into Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Nobles and Jackson counties in Minnesota and in 2020 they were found in Osceola and Dickinson counties in Iowa too. This year has already seen them spreading east into Emmet County in Iowa, and Martin County, as well as other Minnesota counties to the north.

A mystery midge Soybean gall midge larvae are believed to spend

the winter in cocoons in the soil of infested fields, according to a University of Minnesota Extension webpage written by Potter and Extension entomologist Robert Koch, who is also working on the gall midge problem. The insects pupate in the spring, start emerging in June, and as their life cycle takes about a month, there are usually three larval generations a year. Because of the species’ newness, multiple teams of scientists are trying to learn all they can about the midges, a task made more difficult because they can’t yet raise them in the controlled environment of a lab. Some are examining what alternate hosts the midges prefer. Others are looking at various types of insecticides, and the relationship between the flies and tillage. Even the type of vegetation on the field edge could turn out to matter.

MIDGE: Page 8

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Photos courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension

Soybean gall midge infestations can cause plants to wilt, often at the edge of a ĆHOGDGMDFHQWWRDSUHYLRXV \HDUèVVR\EHDQĆHOGDVLQWKLV 5LFH&RXQW\ĆHOG






Marketing meat

From Page 1

Unlike cattle, however, bison cows can produce 20 to 25 calves in their lifetime. Each calf takes 30 months to feed out to market weight, with heifers reaching 900 to 1,000 pounds in that time, and bulls reaching 1,100 to 1,300 pounds. As they work to improve the genetics in their herd — with a goal to produce the highest quality bison meat — the Obermollers are focusing on animals with good length of body and muscle mass.

Herd mentality Earlier this month, under a beautiful blue sky and white, puffy clouds, the Obermoller’s bison herd had congregated at the far end of the pasture. Russell drove the truck out to where they were, chewing on grass or simply relaxing in the sun. It was a majestic sight. “They are so powerful and yet they’re so agile,” shared Russell. “They can be running at full speed and just flip around and go the other direction. “I’ve seen them jump straight up five feet in the air,” he added.

Bison graze at Brewster Bison on Sept. 9. “You can waste a lot of time looking at them,” added Ann. “They’re definitely a herding animal.” The Obermollers tend to keep their distance and leave the animals alone in the pasture, which is separated from neighboring corn and soybean fields by a 6-foot-high electric fence.

“They’re a hard animal to keep in when you push them,” Russell said, adding that he has had calves squeeze through the electric fence from time to time. Calving time on the farm is especially enjoyable to see. “When they’re born, it’s not even five minutes and

Tim Middagh / The Globe

they’re standing,” Russell shared. “Within a halfhour, they’re running with the herd — and keeping up.” While the Obermollers said the animals are happy as long as they have food and water, they have had a couple of “ornery” cows in the herd that had to be culled for safety reasons.

What appealed most to the Obermollers when they considered raising bison was the leanness of the meat and the demand for it among consumers. Their initial plan was to sell all of their meat through a processor in Cannon Falls who, in turn, sold the meat to restaurants. That was before the COVID-19 global pandemic struck. “The restaurants closed and they cut off everyone they could,” Russell shared. “So we started selling direct and Ann does most all of that.” Ann has marketed their bison meat to a couple of area restaurants who are testing the popularity of bison on the menu, but the largest share of meat is sold directly to consumers. “We sell a lot of quarters and halves,” Ann said. “Now, since we’ve been (selling meat) a year and a half, we have repeat customers. We have one repeat customer that drives from Indiana. We also have customers in Duluth and Fargo. “We’ve had a lot of compliments on (the meat),” she added. The Obermollers sell their bison meat through Krafty’s Meat Market in

Okoboji, Iowa, and also have freezers on their farm to store the USDA-inspected and labeled meat. Consumers can purchase meat in the same cuts they would purchase beef — rib-eyes, T-bones, roasts, ground burger, etc. “We have a couple of butchers we use that do a real good job on jerky and sticks,” Ann shared. Not all butcher shops have the facilities to be able to process bison, so the Obermollers work with three they have found — Egan’s Market in Adrian, as well as butcher shops in Renner and Elkton, S.D. “When you order a quarter, a half or a whole, you call in your choice of cuts,” Ann said. “We do the sirloin, ribeye and T-Bone, but we also have done the tenderloin and New York Strip.” Since they began processing their own bison, Ann has transitioned to cooking solely with bison meat, rather than beef, for hotdishes, chili, tacos and burgers. “The biggest difference in terms of flavor is the burger,” Russell shared. “We have as many people buy it for the flavor as we do the health benefits.”


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u;1om7bঞombm]1-Ѵˆ;vĹ ;m;C|vķ1_-m];v-m7blrou|-m|7-|;v ORANGE CITY, Iowa — Preconditioning involves medical and management protocols that cow-calf producers can implement to add to calf weight and increase sale premiums. But, does preconditioning benefit the feedlot producer who purchases and feeds these calves? The short answer is “yes.” Preconditioned calves may cost more at sale time, but the added performance is worth the cost. Research at JBS Five Rivers feedlots indicated that cattle preconditioned for 45 days prior to feedlot entry experienced



ISU Extension Beef Specialist

one-third the morbidity and one-half the mortality compared with calves that were not preconditioned. Preconditioned calves also gained .3 more pounds per day compared with calves not preconditioned. Preconditioning is a sound practice. Vaccination, deworming and balanced nutrition will increase the level of disease resistance in the calf. Weaning, castration,

dehorning and training the calf to eat feed from a bunk are designed to reduce the impact of stress during the shipping and receiving period in the feedlot. However, when disease exposure is combined with extremely stressful conditions (transportation, inclement weather, commingling or new feed/ water), the disease challenge may override the calf’s capacity for disease resistance. In short, the fact that cattle have been preconditioned does not guarantee they will not get sick. This is why it is critical for feedlot producers


Coming in contact with overhead power lines can be deadly. Today’s farm machinery is bigger and taller, making the danger of working around electric lines greater than ever. Fall can be the most dangerous time of all.

Make sure all family members understand these rules: •Utility lines are uninsulated. Don’t let your body become a direct link to the ground or the result could be fatal. •Know the clearance height of all farm equipment. To be safe, keep all objects at least 10 feet away from overhead lines. •NEVER attempt to raise or move a power line. If you’re operating equipment that touches a line, stay where you are and have someone call the utility. •If you must leave the equipment, jump as far as you can so that no part of your body touches the equipment and the ground at the same time.

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to carefully manage new feeder cattle and pay attention to the details. The preconditioned program in Iowa has a long history, but there are several important changes. There is a new certificate that should be used beginning July 1, 2021 and continuing through June

30, 2023. The Gold Tag program will now require two doses of modified live viral vaccines for BVD, IBR, PI-3 and BRSV. And, the weaning interval for a Gold Tag calf was extended from 45 to 60 days. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) will co-sponsor Preconditioned

Feeder Cattle Sales at Sheldon Livestock beginning at noon Dec. 3, Jan. 7 and Feb. 18. ICA will also co-sponsor Preconditioned Feeder Cattle Sales at Spencer Livestock Sales starting at noon on Dec. 15, Jan. 5, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16. Consignors must have or purchase a 2022 membership in order to sell calves in these sales. More information about the Iowa Preconditioning Program is available online from the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association at


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-mvv;mv|;-l†rom-m7o@|_;=-ul BY JANE TURPIN MOORE The Globe

FULDA — With three mutual loves — faith, farming and each other — Ron and Cheryl Janssen have been a dedicated team since 1979. “It’s something of a joke because my family’s farm is only about a mile away,” said Cheryl, 63, the daughter of the late Walter and Minnie Ruesch. “I’m the fourth generation on this farm (eight miles southwest of Fulda),” said Ron, 69, son of the late Walter and Florence Janssen — and yes, the pair’s fathers bore the same first name.

“My great-grandpa moved here around 1898 or 1899 and I’ve been here all my life. Our ‘Janssen’ is German, but my dad always said we’d be Danish without the double ’s.’” The couple married in 1979, when Cheryl was a youthful “20.5,” as she puts it, while Ron was 26. But despite their proximity in childhood — their families attended Immanuel American Lutheran/the Pfingsten Church, and they even rode the same school bus — it wasn’t until Ron returned to the area after completing his degree in animal science at South Dakota State

University that the two truly connected. “There’s enough of an age difference between us that we didn’t really know each other when we were growing up,” said Cheryl. Teased Ron, “She doesn’t even remember me from back then; I really impressed her.” They clicked, however, when both were part of a group of young friends attending movies, dances and area events together. Following a wedding at their mutual home church, the two were set for their personal happily ever after.


Special to The Globe

The Ron and Cheryl Janssen family of rural Fulda is shown with one of their Ford tractors on the farm.



JANSSEN From Page 6

Farming and family Nevertheless, Cheryl and Ron are quick to say that even successful marriages bear little resemblance to fairy tales. “We’ve been at it for 42 years — and we just stay at it,” said Ron. “It’s not that we always agree,” said Cheryl. “It’s that we just don’t give up, and when it comes to the farming things, it helps that overall we both had a similar background. “We have different personalities, so there are disagreements at times.” Ron added, “But we balance each other out with our opposite tendencies.” “That, and our faith in God makes it work,” said Cheryl.

The two remind themselves that neither one is perfect, yet each brings unique gifts and talents to their mutual life. “We look at ourselves and realize we have quirks too, and not just the other person,” said Ron. “Cheryl is real good with finances and brings that area into perspective.” “And Ron has a gentle, caring nature and an ability to track things,” said Cheryl. “He’s not a rash decision-maker, nor is he so analytical that nothing ever happens.” “Together we can do it all better than either one could alone,” agreed Ron. Prior to their marriage, Ron bought a farm adjacent to his family’s land; he lived on that acreage beginning in 1975, and Cheryl joined him there after they married.

When Ron’s dad retired from farming in 1986 and moved into Fulda, the couple relocated to “the home place” and have been there ever since. “We have 504 acres in corn and beans,” said Ron, mentioning those acres include a portion of Cheryl’s family’s Century Farm. “The ’80s were tough for farmers, and the Fulda bank even closed in those years. “We didn’t get a write-off, but we made it through.” With his animal science background, Ron enjoyed farrowing pigs and incorporated them into their operation for some time. “But in 1999 the prices were so low that we got out of that,” said Ron. “We didn’t choose to expand our facilities at that point,” added Cheryl,

It’s that we just don’t give up, and when it comes time to the farming things, it helps that overall we both have had a similar background. CHERYL JANSSEN

with Ron chiming in that going bigger was never their priority. “I wanted time with my family, not just more work, so my heart wasn’t in thousands of acres,” said Ron. “I put more time into family and community.” Even so, farming has been a cooperative effort for the Janssens from the start. “I run the combine, the


digger and the plow, I mow and I drive wagons and tractors — but I don’t plant,” laughed Cheryl. And Ron credits Cheryl with being the family’s primary cook. “She’s good at keeping us healthy — she makes a kale salad that’s a favorite — and she always makes some rhubarb sauce or crisp each spring,” he said. “Cheryl has a big garden and does a lot of canning and freezing, too.” Other than a few years in the early 2000s when Cheryl worked as a rural mail carrier, the two have remained largely focused on their farm and family. Their two adult sons, Chris and Eric, have strayed further from home than either of their parents did. Both are married, employed in information technology

jobs and live in the Twin Cities area. “We have four grandsons and one granddaughter between the ages of one and a half and 11 and a half,” said Cheryl. “Our oldest grandson likes doing things on the farm and helping out with house projects, but I think he’s beginning to realize how far away the farm is from anything.”

Extracurricular interests The community-minded couple — Ron has been Seward Township’s clerk for 19 years and Cheryl is on the supervisory committee of the Fulda Area Credit Union — share a love of music, which translates into lots of music ministry.


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MIDGE From Page 3

“Soybean aphids came in 2000 or 2001, I guess, but at least we could look to Chinese literature … a lot of that work on the biology had already been done,” Potter said. “This is brand new, so it’s all from scratch.” Researchers aren’t even sure if the soybean gall midge is a native species that adapted to soybeans — entirely possible, since it can use sweet clover as a host without killing the plant, and has even been found in alfalfa — or a species introduced to the area from elsewhere. Along with Potter and Koch, entomologists in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa are working on the problem.

The damage done Different tactics for controlling or eliminating the midges are still being studied, but for farmers, a lot depends on how heavy the infestation is, and how far it has spread, Potter said. “No single tactic looks like it’s providing total control,” he warned. In some areas, people are trying insecticides to control the adult flies, made difficult because there are multiple flights of them each year. Researchers are also looking for varieties of soybeans that can better resist the midges, and studies on seed treatment and insecticides are on the way. The damage the midges do depends on how large the plant is when it’s

It’s a devastating little pest if it gets established and you have a high infestation rate. BRUCE POTTER, University of Minnesota Extension integrated pest management specialist at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center

infested and how long the midges are in the plant, Potter said, and damage can range from barely noticeable to plants that die in July. “If the symptoms are severe, you’ll notice it,” he said, because that first spring generation of midges will move from last year’s soybeans into the current year’s soybeans — meaning infestations are typically worst at the edges of a field. Affected plants are often visibly stunted, and because of their weakened stems the wind can knock them down more easily than healthy plants. “If you take those plants and peel back the outer layer of the stem you’ll see the larvae,” Potter said. “They start out white … the mature larvae are bright orange, so they’re pretty noticeable if they’re in the plant.” How much the pests affect yield depends on how bad the infestation is, and because of how they spread, the damage is usually worst at the edge. “People tend to ignore things until it affects

them,” Potter said. “If you wait with this insect, and you’re not paying attention, the first year you find it can be pretty expensive.” He encouraged farmers to keep an eye out this fall for stunted plants, and check the base of the soybean for symptoms of midge damage. Anyone who finds the midges, especially in a county where they haven’t already been confirmed, should let the researchers know by contacting bpotter@umn. edu, or (507) 276-1184. For more information, visit extension. and search for “soybean gall midge,” or visit the Soybean Gall Midge Alert Network at

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-‚Ѵ;-um_bv|ou‹|u;-v†u;7 -|bmm;vo|-"|-|; -bu BY NOAH FISH Agweek

Tim Middagh / The Globe

A pair of bulls stand together in the pasture on Sept. 9, at Brewster Bison, a farm operated by Russell and Ann Obermoller and their son, Kurt.

BREWSTER From Page 4

“Preparing bison is a little different,” Ann noted. “It cooks at about onethird less cooking time. If you cook it correctly, it is juicy and is not a dry meat.” While the Obermollers love a good bison burger, they both put bison roast at the top of their favorite meal — although Russell said he likes the steaks too. “We have people that buy the steaks and that’s all they buy,” he shared. Bison meat is quite lean, with just 2.42 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce serving. That compares to 18.54 fat grams from the same serving size of choice beef, 9.21 fat grams from

pork, 7.41 fat grams from skinless chicken and 6.69 grams from salmon. It also has the lowest calories and cholesterol per serving, while having one of the highest levels of protein and vitamin B-12, and the highest level of iron. In addition to selling bison meat, the Obermollers also sell bison hides and skulls. As for the future of the operation, Russell said he is about maxed out on animals for his pasture, but Kurt now has his own pasture and will be expanding the herd on his farm. Consumers interested in purchasing bison products can learn more through the Brewster Bison Facebook page, or by calling Ann at (507) 360-8832.

ST. PAUL — For 100 years and more, the Cattle Barn at the Minnesota State Fair has been a temporary home for thousands of cattle and the exhibitors showing them. Last year was the 100year anniversary of the Cattle Barn, located on the Como Avenue side of the fairgrounds. The 117,450-square-foot brick structure, which finished being built in 1920, can house around 1,000 cattle at a time. Because officials had to cancel the fair for only the sixth time ever in 2020, fair-goers weren’t able to wander the aisles of the historic barn on its anniversary. “Last year with no fair we couldn’t celebrate, so we’re choosing to celebrate this year at 100 years and more,” said Jill Nathe, deputy general manager of the agriculture and competitions departments at the Minnesota State Fair. Originally known as the Livestock Pavilion, the

Noah Fish / Agweek

Cows inside the Cattle Barn at the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 6. Cattle Barn was designed by famed architect Clarence H. Johnston, who also designed Williams Arena and Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, and the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth. Johnston served as Minnesota State Architect from 1901 to 1931. “He kind of has his stamp on a lot of things in Minnesota, and we’re lucky to have at least one of his buildings here on the fairgrounds,” Nathe said. “When you really step back and look at the building, you appreciate some of the architecture.”

She said that appreciation really came to light when sections of the Cattle Barn had to be rebuilt after two levels of the roof collapsed from the weight of snow in March 2019. “We’re really lucky to be able to celebrate 100plus years of the cattle barn, because that was all rebuilt,” she said. A lot was learned about the building in the reconstruction process, said Nathe. “We learned at that time about the brick size that was used, the windows and some of the additional facade pieces

that were really important,” she said. “And it was rebuilt to match that as absolutely as closely as possible, and maintain that integrity and maintain that history of this building.” Nathe said because of the repairs, she thinks the Cattle Barn has another 100 years in it. “We’ve actually improved a lot after the collapse, and we were able to upgrade the lighting, the electricity and do some other things in the building,” she said. “So I really think we’ve created a very flexible building with portable stalls that we can use for a variety of purposes for the next century.”

Good to be back On the final day of the 2021 fair, Nathe said it was a great feeling to be back inside the Cattle Barn this year. “It just meant a lot these past 12 days to have everybody here celebrating and being back together again,” she said.


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Special to The Globe

The Ron and Cheryl Janssen family of rural Fulda.

JANSSEN From Page 7

“For 27 years, I directed the Fulda Community Choir that performed every year during the Wood Duck Festival (and also in Worthington and Slayton),” said Ron. Ron formerly played the organ at the Pfingsten church of his youth; today, he heads the worship music

ministry at Grace Community Church, Worthington. “I’ve been involved in church music all my life and I just love contemporary worship music,” said Ron, who plays keyboard and piano. Cheryl, meanwhile, learned to play bass guitar a few years ago and also sings as part of Grace Community’s worship team. “And I take care of the

audio-visual things at church,” said Cheryl. Their two daughters-inlaw have music education degrees, so the whole family has been known to offer praise together on the worship team when “the kids” are visiting. In addition, Cheryl leads a women’s Bible study group. “If I ever slow down enough, I like to read,”

said Cheryl. “But I like to work, and that can be a bad thing.” Together, the Janssens aim to be good stewards of the land they farm. “We’re trying to take care of the soil and keep it healthier,” said Ron, noting they are a non-GMO farming operation. “I got connected with a group of people in several other states who farm

that way, and I think it’s important, both for our personal health and for others’ health.” That attitude — farming and investing in a community while being mindful of others and their needs — typifies the Janssens’ unified approach. “It’s good to have a balance in life and not just focus on the farm,” said Ron.

Added Cheryl, “No matter what the season, you shouldn’t neglect your faith or the care of others.” “You get a deeper satisfaction when you’re reaching out and thinking about those around you,” summarized Ron. “We’re trusting that God will provide, that He’ll lead us day by day. We try to follow God’s plan.”

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STATE FAIR From Page 9

Nathe said that 4-H kids showcase their beef and dairy cattle projects in the Cattle Barn for the first four days of the fair. The middle four days are for the Open Class Dairy Cattle — which has Holsteins, Jerseys and red and whites showcased from across the Midwest. Open Class Beef Cattle exhibitors along with FFA dairy and beef cattle are in the barn for the final four days “So throughout the fair, we have about 1,000-head of cattle in the barn at all times,” said Nathe. On top of browsing the variety of dairy and beef cattle breeds, fair-goers could watch cows being milked and get an education from the Moo Booth and Milking Parlor inside of the barn. Nathe tells fair-goers interested in the history of the Cattle Barn to look up when they’re inside because there used to be a mezzanine level. On some of the posts you can see the bolt holes where the level once was. “I love this barn,” said Joan Waldron of Buffalo, Minn., whose family runs Wildwood Farm. “If I could go back in time, I’d like to see that upper level of the barn because I’ve only seen pictures of it.” Wildwood farm, run by Tom, Joan and Jane Waldron in central Minnesota, raises shorthorn seed stock and club calves. Joan Waldron said this was their 50th year of having shorthorns, and they’ve

Last year with no fair we couldn’t celebrate, so we’re choosing to celebrate this year at 100 years and more. JILL NATHE

been showing in the open class inside the Cattle Barn for 47 of those years. Tom Waldron is the third generation on the farm, and his grandfather would exhibit cattle at different fairs by taking the animals via train. “Wouldn’t that have been cool to see, packing them all on the train?” asked Joan Waldron. Noah Fish / Agweek She said she’s glad things Tom and Joan Waldron showed their cattle in the open class beef exhibition at the Minnesota State Fair on have changed since then, Sept. 6. because women didn’t used to go with their farmer husbands at the time. “That was just the deal at the time, the women had Noah Fish / Agweek to stay home,” she said. A sign commemorates The Waldron family has the 100 year anniversary shown cattle at the Iowa at the entrance to the State Fair as well as the Cattle Barn. state fairs in South Dakota and Wyoming. Joan Waldron said none of the other fairs compare to the Minnesota State Fair. “This one is home,” she said. After having to miss last year’s fair because of the pandemic, she said this year felt even more special. “You come here and everything is familiar, Noah Fish / Agweek and you get to hang out An entrance with all your friends who to the Cattle Barn. become family,” Waldron said. “That’s the best part — we wish we could win, but that’s not even what it’s about anymore.”




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