Katterhagen farm to host ‘Breakfast on the Farm’
By Karin Nauber
Todd County reporter
The Dale and Marie Katterhagen farm in rural Browerville has been a place known to sixth grade students for many years now. The Katterhagens have hosted the Todd County Envirofest at their farm for many years.
This year will be the first year that the Katterhagens will be the host farm, for Breakfast on the Farm, a program through the U of M Extension Todd County Livestock Advisory Board to help raise awareness of farming and livestock in Todd County.
This year’s eighth annual event will be held Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m.-2 p..m.
For most people, this is a day of fun, education and eating, but for the volunteers and others who are involved in getting the program set up each year, it is a lot more.
A whole lot of planning and work go into making Breakfast on the Farm go flawlessly each year.
From transportation to the event - which this year will include three charter buses and two Rainbow Rider buses - to the games, food and petting zoo, it takes a lot of time to make this a great day for everyone.
June 8, a group of dedicated volunteers and Todd County staff met at the the Katterhagen farm to discuss education booths, where things will be set up, who will be cooking, serving and well, just all of the things that are needed in preparing for a huge event like this.
The food, parking, farm equipment displays, are all part of the planning and finding things of interest for young and old and everyone in between.
The volunteers aren’t looking for recognition, they just want the day to be a good, educational experience for everyone who attends.
Several of the volunteers who were at this planning session included: Brenda Miller, U of M Extension-Todd County Extension Educator-Livestock Production Systems; Kevin Ehnes, Todd County Livestock Advisory Extension Member; Derek Zigan, Volunteer; Jeff Rinde, Todd County Livestock Advisory Extension Member; Elisha Graves, Central Minnesota Credit Union, Jerome Koehn, Volunteer and Amy Ebnet, Volunteer. Earlier in the day, Les Levine and Candy Christianson from Thunder Lodge were on hand to discuss meal plans.
While the name remains “Breakfast on the Farm,” the cuisine has changed over the years to a more traditional lunchtime meal of hamburgers, chips and milk.
Dale Katterhagen is the fourth generation of farmers on the land homesteaded by his great-grandparents in 1879.
The first and second generations raised dairy cattle, hogs and chickens. Dale’s parents did the same, but added more hogs.
When Dale and his wife took over the farm in 1977, they milked cows until 2006. In fact, Dale has a sign made and posted by the door of the barn which states the date and approximate time that they did their last milking.
They had also raised Holstein steers and continue today maintaining a herd of about 400.
The Katterhagens have two grown sons, Matthew and Luke, who are both married and have given them five grandchildren, Kylie, Nicole, Mitchell, Avery and Beatrice.
Dale has been a part of the Todd Soil and Water Conservation Board for a number of years. He and his family have focused on being good stewards of the land, being excellent caretakers of their animals and producing a safe, high quality product for the consumer.
The steers they raise are purchased from a nearby larger dairy farm when they are about two months old. The Katterhagens raise them to finish weight.
In 1992 they added a monoslope shed barn to house the steers.
Health of their cattle is important to the family and they believe it helps the steers maintain a steady growth.
The Katterhagens farm 1,000 acres of land and grow corn, hay and soybeans. All the corn and hay they raise is fed back to their animals. The manure is used as a natural fertilizer.
Both Dale and Marie are involved in the community. Both have served on various boards and volunteer at their church, Relay for Life, Browerville Days and Project Heal.
Marie is a registered nurse and works at CentraCare Health - Long Prairie.
She has made several surgical mission trips to Guatemala and completed her fifth such visit this year.
The Katterhagens wouldn’t have had it any other way than living on the farm and raising their family.
“Working on our dairy farm has been a great place to raise our family. Some of my best conversations with my children happened while we were milking cows, side-by-side, together,” said Dale.
While in the barn discussing the Breakfast on the Farm event, Dale talked about the barn which was built in the later 1800s. He said that the barn was probably built better than the original house which was a shanty.
“They needed a place to live and a place to earn a living. They built their place to earn a living first,” said Dale.
He said the first homes built were just shanties to get homesteaded. The Katterhagen farm still has several of the original buildings.
The Katterhagens cleaned up the barn and kept it usable after they stopped milking, but it took Dale about two years to get started on the project which included refinishing the hayloft into a place of beauty.
For safety reasons, people are asked to park at the one of the following locations and ride the free shuttle buses to the farm:
o Motzko Fields: 25002 County 16, Browerville
o Oberg Farm: 24760 County 14, Browerville (intersection of County 5, County 14, and County 16).