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Krekelberg new extension educator in Stearns, Morrison and Benton

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 09/04/2013 2:01 PM

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ST. CLOUD — Emily Krekelberg could have traveled down many career paths after graduating from the University of Minnesota in May.

An internship with Extension helped decide her future.

"I fell in love with the work," said Krekelberg, who interned in Scott, Carver and Le Seuer counties last summer.

She started full-time as an Extension educator in Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties on May 20.

"This is a great area for dairy and I have been very fortunate to get this position," she said. "I am so glad to be here."

As a young girl, Krekelberg wanted to be a chef, but she also liked everything about her family's Le Seuer dairy farm.

The farm, operated by her parents, Dale and Patty, is a 40-cow dairy with 100 acres planted in corn, alfalfa and oats.

Krekelberg is the youngest of five children. The oldest, Dan, has his own 320-cow dairy operation; Jake works for a Le Sueur cheese company; Anna is a stay-at-home mom in Eden Prairie; and Monica is a nurse in Toledo, Ohio.

She remembers how she'd be with her mom in the barn while Patty fed cows before school.

An agriculture career beckoned.

She was active in 4-H and the dairy project. Krekelberg also enrolled in photography and says the fashion review was a highlight. She took part in other fine arts projects and even trained the family's farm dog.

"That was an adventure," she said.

She thrived in dairy projects, earning trips to the State Fair. In her second to last year in 4-H, she exhibited the Champion Grade Holstein Heifer.

She was Le Sueur County 4-H Federation president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

"I am an extrovert so I enjoyed visiting farms and meeting with the farmers," she said.

Krekelberg is meeting producers through field day events and fairs and is planning workshop events.

When her non-farm friends ask about her job, she easily describes her work.

"I get to help farmers get to be better farmers," she said. "I am pleased to have the opportunity to help farmers problem solve and help them make better informed decisions."