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Each year, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association recognizes a dairy farm exhibiting exceptional leadership, innovation and commitment to Minnesota dairy. This year, the association announced the Kerfeld family of Kerfeld Hill-View Farm in Melrose, Minn., as their 2023 Producer of the Year.

The Kerfeld family, who dairy farm in central Minnesota, displays a forward-thinking approach to dairy farming. Tim and Carrie became partners on the farm in 1991 with Tim’s parents, Art and Rosie. By 2001, the family had grown the herd with new and expanded buildings. The next generation, including Nicholas and Kristin, Jessica and Michael, Nathan, Isaac and Riley, are all interested in continuing the family’s farming legacy.

“The Kerfelds perfectly exemplify the spirit of this award,” said Minnesota Milk Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom. “Their commitment to developing our next generation of dairy farmers shows why they are more than deserving of this recognition.”

The family farm has changed dynamically throughout the years. To increase revenue, the family began custom harvesting and manure hauling for other farms in the area.

“It was a way for us to stay on a manageable level at the dairy but add some extra income,” said Tim Kerfeld.

The biggest change came when the family installed four milking robots in 2019.

“When kids want to come back into the business, you need more income to help support that other family coming in,” Kerfeld said. “By adding the automation, we can add cow numbers for additional income to support another family.”

Robotic milkers are not the only innovative practice the Kerfelds have adopted. The family also utilizes sustainable farming practices, such as cover cropping. The cover crops help reduce erosion on the hilly ground and sandier soil. The farm plants rye, sorghum, kale and radishes to help maintain soil structure, but each year is slightly different.

“With more and more focus on conservation, it’s important to have families like the Kerfelds showcasing the positive work Minnesota’s dairy farms are doing to help the environment,” Sjostrom said.

The Kerfeld family will be honored at the upcoming Minnesota Milk Producers Association annual meeting on March 6 in St. Paul, where the family will be celebrated among peers, industry partners and community members and at the association’s Dairy Day at the Capitol on March 7.

About Minnesota Milk:
Minnesota Milk Producers Association is the Minnesota dairy industry’s leading grassroots organization. Its strength comes from members working together and focusing on three key areas: policy, education and membership. By focusing on these areas, the organization will advance the success of Minnesota’s dairy producers. More information: