Thanksgiving Reflections

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have a lot to be grateful for. However, I am especially thankful that I was born and raised on a beautiful, fifth-generation, grass-based dairy farm that, along with other farms, produces the wholesome food everyone across the country will be consuming on Thanksgiving Day. Working in the rain, snow, heat, and cold, farmers do hundreds of “thankless” jobs which include milking, scraping, maintaining a healthy herd, repairs, loads of paperwork and much more. Working one of the most dangerous occupations every single day does not lessen one’s compassion, in fact, it strengthens it. It takes a special, yet talented person to be able to work past the obstacles of farming. A farmer’s shirt may be covered in dirt and their hands may be wrinkled and rough, but trust me, they have the biggest hearts. For their herd, for their employees, and for their families. My uncle, Karl Klessig, and my father, Robert Klessig, are the owners and operators of Saxon Homestead Farm. I would just like to give thanks to both of them for simply being the best teachers with a hands-on approach. Learning about our cows and their genetics, the diseases that can affect our herd, the safe treatment of each animal, and most importantly, the circle of life.

Karl and Robert Klessig with the herd in front of our farm. Photo courtesy of Hoard’s Dairyman.

Growing up, I’ve learned that the best television channel is the Weather Channel. After a long day’s work, I can always find my dad sitting in his recliner with his best bud, Hank, our Labrador Retriever, watching the weather, hoping that the next day’s weather will be in his favor. After a prolonged 2019 harvest because of relentless rain events, I’ve learned that nothing in life will be handed to you, including a good crop yield and a fast harvest. This year, we found ourselves in one of the wettest falls in history. Fortunately, here at Saxon Homestead, we were able to harvest a tremendous crop of corn silage between heavy rains. Not only has this been a challenging year on our pastures, but also for our hay and corn harvest. Many farmers across the state continue to struggle. We feel very fortunate to have successfully completed our corn harvest, and we would like to acknowledge the work of our employees and Eisentraut Ag. Service for a timely and efficient harvest. In addition to the harvest, we also feel grateful that our farm and herd are prepared for winter, as our pasture water systems have been drained and all of our barns are secure and winterized. Additionally, the majority of Saxon cows are confirmed pregnant, so we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first calves in early March.

My uncle and father have faced many challenges and setbacks throughout the years, yet, those are the things that have motivated them to try harder and create new opportunities for our business. Through it all, they have remained grateful and optimistic. Like my Grandpa Eddie Klessig always said, “When one door closes, 10 more open up.” From everyone at Saxon Homestead Farm, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving. As you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, remember to thank a farmer.

This blog post was written by Emma Klessig, 17-year-old sixth-generation Klessig dairy farmer

Emma Klessig delivering twin bull calves in June 2019.