By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Emily Krekelberg, the new livestock educator for Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties, grew up as the youngest of five siblings on her parents’ dairy farm near Le Sueur, helping to milk the 40 Holsteins and produce the 100 acres of corn and alfalfa.
As a member of 4-H, she was active with the dairy project, participating in Quiz Bowl and showing at both the county and state. She was a Scott-Le Sueur County Dairy Princess for three years, and one of 12 finalists for Princess Kay of the Milky Way in 2011.
One of Krekelberg’s favorite memories from growing up on a farm was summers spent training heifer calves for the fair.
“My siblings and I were all in 4-H, and we spent a lot of time making sure our calves were ready to show,” she said. “We would walk them everyday, wash them, and clip them. It was a great way to learn responsibility, and it was a really rewarding experience to proudly walk into the show ring with a calf I had put a lot of effort into.”
Krekelberg gained exposure to the University of Minnesota’s (U of M) agriculture programming through her older brother, Dan. “I knew they had a really good dairy program,” she said. “I went to Gopher Dairy Camp there in the summers.”
On campus, she was a member of the Beta of Clovia sorority, Gopher Dairy Club, Collegiate Agri Women, the Agricultural Education Club and the Dairy Challenge Team.
She served as the national president of the American Dairy Science Association-Student Affiliate Division in 2012-2013.
Krekelberg completed an internship in dairy sales with Boehringer-Ingelheim in summer 2011, and an ag internship with the U of M Extension Service in Scott, Carver and Le Sueur counties in summer 2012.
“That sparked my interest in working with Extension, and I’m glad to be back as a livestock educator,” she said.
Krekelberg will work mainly with dairy and beef programming, including planning dairy field days, providing educational resources to farmers, serving on the U of M dairy and beef teams and working with other educational programs on regional and state levels.
She is interested in a number of different aspects of dairy and beef management, including calf rearing, cow comfort, livestock facilities, consumer education and meat processing. But most important is her concern for milk quality.
“I worked mostly with mastitis tubes with Boehringer-Ingelheim and looked at how people are milking their cows and what methods they are using,” she said.
When not working with agricultural tasks, Krekelberg really likes to cook. She enjoys reading and is a big fan of the Harry Potter series.
“There are a lot of books out there about cows,” she said. “I like to read novels, histories, anything about cows.”
She also enjoys spending time with her niece and two nephews. She and Clayton Wilmes are engaged to be married, and they go to dinner and movies together, in addition to visiting their families.
“We’re big family people,” she said.
Krekelberg values her memories of growing up on a farm and would like to help others have similar experiences.
“My sister, Monica, and I always had a great time naming our cows. We named all of the calves that we showed, and as they grew into cows their names stuck. Even though we don’t show anymore, there are still cows that will catch my eye and get a very special name,” said Krekelberg. “My favorite job (which was the least favorite of my dad and brothers) was feeding newborn calves. It takes a lot of patience, and I absolutely loved it.”
Krekelberg can be contacted at 1 (800) 450-6171.