Buss engages others in dairy's story
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 09/10/2012 2:46 PM
HUTCHINSON, Minn. — When Kelsey Buss isn't showing dairy cows, she's talking about them.
The Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalist showed cows through 11 years in 4-H and now as an open class exhibitor.
"You will see parents walking with their kids by the cows and, if they see a Red and White Holstein, they'll say, 'That's where strawberry milk comes from,' or they might walk by a Jersey and say, 'That's where chocolate milk comes from,'" said the Hutchinson native.
It's the perfect conversation starter.
"My cows are in the public eye," she said. "I can tell people, using hands-on experiences, about my cows and the dairy industry. I'll show them the hay the cows are eating and talk about the forages and feed the cows eat. I'll take the water pail and talk about how much water the cow drinks. Some people have no idea what's going on at the farm because they don't have the experience. I can give them a touch of that."
Talking about dairy is a natural for Buss. At a 4-H after-school program, Buss worked closely with children and developed lessons on agriculture and dairy farming. She's designed a video focused on calves drinking milk. She brings in the equipment, shows kids the milk and how she feeds calves.
"My main point is to get across how hard people work with their animals," she said. "Here is an opportunity to tell others about what we do. It's an opportunity to tell them how farmers take care of their animals."
Buss credits 4-H and FFA for her communication and leadership skills. Buss was president of the Youth Association in 4-H, was a 4-H ambassador for McLeod County from 2005 to 2010 and was Hutchinson FFA Chapter president her senior year.
Buss got her enthusiasm for dairy on the family's Hutchinson farm.
Buss was a fixture in the barn. When she was younger, her job was to feed calves. As she gained experience, she began milking cows.
Buss is enrolled in Ridgewater College's dairy management program. She'll graduate from the program at the Willmar-based college in December. She plans to return to the farm.
Buss handles the sire selection and is the artificial insemination technician. For the past two years, she's been taken part in the herd's nutrition program.
KevLor Farms got its name from her parents, Kevin and Lori. They have 60 black and white and Red and White Holsteins and milk in a 75-cow tie-stall barn. They raise their own replacements and grow alfalfa, corn and soybeans on 160 acres.
Her brother, Craig, works in South Dakota and her older sister, Brigette, a Ridgewater graduate with an ag business degree, also helps on the farm.
The sisters have been McLeod County dairy ambassadors.
Her parents have encouraged her. Brigette has picked up chores when she's busy off the farm.
"They understand how important it is to me to have this role and they know that I love it," she said. It's my dream and goal. Everything I have worked for came true. I really enjoy being a dairy princess and a dairy farmer," she said. "I like telling the story."