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Nauerth caps 50-plus years farming with trip to World Ploughing Contest

John Nauerth III has been farming for more than 50 years in Jackson County, but recently capped off his farming experience by attending the 2019 World Ploughing Contest at Lake of the Woods.
The contest took place Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.
“I had read about it in the Minnesota Corn Growers Magazine and thought this would be my only chance to attend a world plowing contest,” Nauerth said.
The World Ploughing Contest has taken place every year since even before 1953 when it gained some recognition, Nauerth said. It takes place in a different country every year.
“This year, 29 countries took part in the contest,” Nauerth said. “I was able to go up to one of the two contestants from Russia while there and, even though the Russian contestant I talked with spoke only a little English, I was able to converse with him through his interpreter. We had a friendly conversation and I was invited to visit Russia.”
Nauerth said at the start of the plowing contest, each contestant from each country plows a strike furrow. Then everything stops and the judges judge each competitor’s strike. Then a light pole flashes a yellow light notifying the competitors to get ready to plow their plot.
“They hold a random drawing at the start as to which country plows which plot,” Nauerth said. “Then, when the competitors are all lined up, the yellow light goes to green to signify the start of the contest and they all have so many minutes to complete the plowing of their plot.”
Nauerth said those competing jump off their tractors somewhere between 50 and 60 times as they plow their plots using 100-foot tapes to make sure they are plowing straight, as well as one side to another. They also measure depth and how the soil is laid over.
“The plots are probably about a city block in size,” he said. “But they only have so much time to plow it. There is no GPS and no auto-steer on any of the tractors. They use two-bottom plows because around the world most plots farmed are small, often carved out of a forest.”
Nauerth says the World Ploughing Contest is like the world soccer match of agriculture.
“The overseas competitions can draw as many as 300,000 spectators,” he said. “I think there were several thousand spectators at this contest at Lake of the Woods County.”
Although 29 countries fielded contestants, visitors from more than 30 countries attended the event.
Eight-time U.S. national champion Gene Gerber competed again this year and placed third for the United States. He took first place in 2017. Ireland took home the first-place honors.

Zeinstras inducted into 4-H Hall of Fame

Mike and Lisa Zeinstra are the newest members of the Pipestone County 4-H Hall of Fame.
The honor is given to a family each year after a vote by the 4-H Leaders Council and the award is presented prior to the ribbon auction on the last day of the Pipestone County Fair, or Saturday, Aug. 3.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Mike said.
“I was pretty shocked,” Lisa said. “I had no clue we were going to receive this. We’re very honored.”
The couple, who have operated a dairy farm near Holland for 42 years, said they found out they would receive the award on Wednesday, July 31. They were serving ice cream at the fair when their daughters told them there was something they had to go see at the blue building.
“I thought my granddaughter, first year in 4-H, did a project,” Lisa said. “So they were pulling my leg, of course, and said, ‘Yes, she did something.’”
They went to the blue building where they found a display created by their daughters that indicated they’d been inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame and listed their many contributions to 4-H over more than 20 years. Mike said he actually found out about it five minutes before that when someone congratulated him on the honor.
Their contributions to 4-H include being active in projects such as fashion review, photography, community service and dairy. Lisa served as the club leader for the Prairie Grangers 4-H Club for over 10 years and helped with various committees including interstate exchange and community pride. Mike has helped with the dairy quiz bowl, the species committee and dairy judging. They also share their expertise in animal showing, and lease cows to 4-H members to show at the fair because their kids had friends who were interested in showing and didn’t have animals.
“I just thought that gives them an opportunity for a learning experience,” Mike said. “They can learn some work ethic and responsibility as they grow up.”
Ten 4-H members showed animals that belonged to the Zeinstras at this year’s Pipestone County Fair, including three of their grandchildren.
The Zeinstras said neither of them were involved in 4-H when they were young. Their involvement started when their oldest of four daughters, Amanda, became involved when she was about 9-years-old. They said Amanda had friends who were in 4-H and they thought it would be good for her to be involved. The rest of their four daughters became involved after that. The oldest of their six grandchildren are now involved in 4-H as well.
Mike and Lisa said they believe 4-H teaches valuable life skills including responsibility and public speaking, and that their kids have made many friends through their involvement. Lisa said she believes 4-H has even helped their kids become successful in their chosen professions, which include a nurse practitioner, a teacher, a physical therapist, and working at the family dairy.
“Another thing I think it has done, it has given us a lot of things to do as a family,” Mike said. “Whereas at times I might have stayed at the farm and kept working, because we had an event or something going on I took out the time to spend with my family. Some of our best memories are what we’ve done with our family in 4-H.”

No Regrets

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For many who grow up in Jackson County, farming is a way of life. Even for those who don’t live on a farm, there are many ways to be involved in agriculture. Recent JCC graduate Garrhet Kellner found being surrounded by all of the big farmers, he wanted to take part. He joined the FFA program at JCC and hasn’t looked back.
“I feel that agriculture has always been a big part of my life, and that I have always been interested in it,” he said.
If you’ve been to many of the animal shows at the Jackson County Fair then there’s a good chance you’ve seen Kellner. Just this year he won numerous awards in the poultry category and the dairy beef category. The smile on his face shows how much he enjoys it, and the intensity he has when he’s working with his animals during the various portions of the show make it evident he’s serious about his hard work. While he works well with his animals, and wins awards for his hard work, he admits his favorite part of the fair is being able to help the younger kids. He likes to assist them in showing their animals, and teaching them some of the things he knows after years of working in FFA. He also has a strong sense of loyalty to the local farmers, and makes it a point to do what he can to help the industry expand.
Growing up with this all around him helped Kellner decide what it was he wanted to do in the future. As a recent high school graduate he plans to go to college and pursue a degree in agriculture. When he was asked if he would encourage other young people to get involved in agriculture he didn’t hesitate.
“I would most definitely encourage young people to get involved with agriculture,” he said. “It has helped so much through my life, and I am thankful for that. If you are thinking of getting involved definitely do it. I promise, you won’t regret it.”

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Lincoln County Dairy Princess
Johannah Nielsen

As Johannah Nielsen spoke to the Farm Market News by phone recently, mooing was audible in the background from the heifers that she planned to show at the Lincoln County Fair. It was a seemingly appropriate background noise for a chat with the Lincoln County Dairy Princess.
Nielsen, 19, has been showing dairy cows at the Lincoln County Fair and Minnesota State Fair since she was in fourth grade. She’s also shown beef cattle and pigs at both the Lincoln County Fair and Minnesota State Fair. This year she planned to show three steers, three or four pigs and two dairy cattle.
Nielsen is the daughter of Bruce and Roxanne Nielsen. The family raises beef cattle and pigs near Russell.
About four years ago when Nielsen was a sophomore in high school, her father got her a job at a dairy. Nielsen said she milked cows every other weekend during the school year and worked more regularly during the summers. She said she enjoyed the work and the hands-on experience taught her a lot about the dairy industry.
“It really helped me to grow a passion for the industry,” she said.
That passion created a desire to advocate for dairy. She’s done so as a member of the National 4-H Dairy Conference committee, first as a youth and now as an adult, and during the last two years as the Lincoln County Dairy Princess. She was co-princess last year and is the lone princess this year.
In most counties there is a competition for Dairy Princess, but Nielsen said it’s more of a volunteer position in Lincoln County. She said she volunteered to be the Dairy Princess because she thought it would be fun.
“I always looked up to Dairy Princesses,” she said.
She’s spent much of her summer living that role by participating in parades and community festivals, occasionally with a small bottle calf by her side to show the kids.
“She’s more of a princess than I am,” Nielsen said of the calf.
She said people have told her they enjoy seeing the calf up close and petting it. Nielsen said she loves providing that opportunity, as well as talking to people about cows and answering questions about the dairy industry.
Nielsen graduated from Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School as the valedictorian of the class of 2018. She will soon begin her second year at South Dakota State University in Brookings where she is double-majoring in animal science/pre-vet and dairy production, and minoring in ag business and animal health.
“It sounds like a lot, but it all overlaps,” she said.
She’s not exactly sure what her future will hold, but said she’s always thought about becoming a veterinarian like her mother. As she’s become more aware of the cost and time commitment to become a vet, she said she’s reconsidering that plan, but still wants to do something with livestock, possibly related to nutrition or reproduction. She’s hoping that her studies or an internship opportunity will draw her toward a particular occupation.
What she knows for sure is that she has been active in agriculture her whole life, “and that’s where I want to stay,” she said.