Dairy steers a part of dairy industry
The dairy industry encompasses many types of enterprises as some farm families specialize in just one aspect of dairy.
The Haselow family in Spencer buys the bull calves from their neighbor's dairy to raise as Holstein steers. It's a business they started in 2010 when they decided not to milk cows any longer but still wanted to continue the dairy tradition on their family's Century farm.
Spruce Line Farm became a Century Farm in 2001. The original homestead, started by Steve's great-grandfather, consisted of 40 acres, but the Clark County farm has grown to 234 acres.
Steve and Sandy Haselow purchased the farm from his parents, Gordon and Marlene, in the fall of 1999. They milked 50 cows and raised all of their replacement heifers until 2010 when they decided to sell the milking herd and specialize in the steer business.
When they welcomed visitors to the Loyal FFA Alumni's June Dairy Month breakfast on Sunday, June 19, they demonstrated the importance of all types of dairy enterprises that are important for providing a safe food supply for this country and beyond.
The Haselows converted their former dairy barn to house the 200 steers that they have at any given time.
'They can come into the barn any time, and they are free to go out into the pasture,' Steve said. 'They like it in the barn, though, especially when it is really warm. Then at night, they head outside.'
They buy the animals from their neighbor and market some as feeders at about 700 pounds. The majority of them remain on the farm until they reach 1,500 pounds, and then they are sold at the nearby Equity sales barn in Stratford.
The Haselows raise all the feed they need for the steers, and they usually have some corn and beans to sell.
Sandy is a fifth-grade teacher at Loyal Public School, and she said that works out well because she is around in the summer when there is more farm work to help with.
Their sons, Eric and Austin, also help on the farm.
Eric, 18, is a recent Loyal High School graduate and will be attending Northern Technical College to be an agricultural equipment technician.
Austin, 14, will be a freshman at Loyal High School, where he plays football, baseball and is active in 4-H and FFA.
When they were asked to host the June Dairy Month breakfast, they cleaned out a machine shed on the farm where the alumni members set up their pancake maker and 4-foot fry pan for the eggs.
The event drew about 1,400 visitors and included a petting zoo and tours of the farm.