Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Olson is veterinarian and dairy farmer

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 11/21/2012 1:16 PM

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MADISON, Wis. — Kim Olson took a couple of days away from her Atwater veterinary practice, Animal Health Services, to help show cattle at World Dairy Expo.

Olson grew up in the Atwater area and showed dairy cattle at the Kandiyohi County Fair as a 4-H member. She showed mostly Guernseys and a few Holsteins.

"The biggest thrill was getting that Minnesota State Fair trip," Olson said.

Her father sold his dairy herd during the dairy buyout in the mid-1980s.

She received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree form the University of Minnesota in 1993 and returned to Atwater to open her veterinary office after practicing in Hutchinson.

Her focus is dairy, but she also treats small animals.

She started Oat Hill Dairy in 2001. Oak Hill is a 85-head dairy operation that has five registered breeds — Milking Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey, Holsteins and Red and White Holsteins.

She farms in partnership with Gordon Larson just north of Atwater.

They built a 45-head free-stall barn, which they expanded to 86 cows in 2006. They milk in a double-4 herringbone parlor.

"I started the farm so that we could do some showing and hopefully market some genetics," Olson said. "We do a little bit of embryo transfer work."

The Oat Hill string had nine cattle, which were managed by Cory Salzl of Eden Valley, Minn. He keeps his Milking Shorthorns at Oat Hill.

Olson had a Jersey and Guernseys at World Dairy Expo. She helped get them ready for the ring, and Sazl showed them for her.

Olson said that Salzl did well with his Milking Shorthorns. He got a second, a third and a 10th for his heifers. Olson's Guernsey heifer was fourth.

"Our pride is winning medals for something we bred and raised ourselves," she said.

Olson has been coming to Madison since 2001, but only brought a couple of animals the first years.

"Now we have a whole string," she said.

Oat Hill Dairy also shows at the Minnesota State Fair, and the Kandiyohi and Meeker county fairs. This year Olson's Holstein was champion cow at the Kandiyohi County Fair.

Olson leases animals to 4-H'ers who don't have access to livestock but want to learn about dairy in Kandiyohi, Meeker and Stearns counties.

"They get really excited when they win state fair trips," Olson said. "Getting these kids involved is a great way to promote dairy. They get hands-on experience touching them, feeding them, realizing where their milk comes from and the hard work it takes to put food on their table."