How well do farmers take care of their animals? That’s the question I posed to Katie Brenny, a CommonGround volunteer, who with her husband owns a cow-calf operation in southeastern Minnesota. Katie works for Farm Bureau and serves on the Minnesota Beef Council and Minnesota Ag in the Classroom boards. Let’s get to know Katie.
How do you describe yourself?
I wear a lot of hats! At home, I call myself an organizer. I’m a wife and cook and church member too. For the farm, I’m a book keeper and I run to get parts when things break down. But most importantly, I think of myself as a farmer along with my husband, Ted.
How do you start your mornings?
Like most farmers, I check the weather! Then I go out to do chores, and then get ready for work. Plus I try to run through my emails.
Give us a day in the life snapshot – what are the highlights of your day?
My life revolves around the farm with morning chores, working either from my home office or on the road to an event in the local area. In the evening, I make dinner and then take care of the farm chores and end the day with some relaxation.
What’s your recipe to creating a nourishing life for you and your family?
Balance is really important to me and I look for it and create it wherever and whenever I can. To me balance is finding a place where work, family, faith and farming all fit together in harmony. Life on the farm can get busy, stressful and challenge a relationship, while work can get in the way of farming and family and remembering that faith and family is where the mind and soul rest.
What do you struggle with most when feeding you and your husband?
As a working wife, it is hard to find fresh and healthy foods for my family to eat. At times after a long day on the farm or when I’m on the road for work, finding a meal to put together for the table is a huge challenge. If someone would just tell me what to make and what to buy in the grocery store this would be a lot easier! So when the time is rushed, the meal may come from a box, which doesn’t always make me feel like I’m doing the best for my family.
What’s your role on the farm?
I like to call myself a partner in crime! I enjoy working on the farm with my husband very much.
Share a favorite recipe your family loves to eat.
It’s a simple recipe that I don’t have measurements to, but our favorite is called “BBQ’s”. It starts with cooking ground beef with diced green peppers and onions. Once thoroughly cooked, I add a drizzle of honey and spoonful of brown sugar. I top it off with a squeeze of ketchup and barbecue sauce. It’s done in 15 minutes.
When it’s busy on the farm and you need a portable dinner, what do you like to prepare and serve?
I love wraps, and it seems so many foods fit well inside of them. My favorite ingredients are different types of meats, cheeses, and vegetables along with some sauces. It’s easy to pack them for my husband on the go!
What do you value most in life?
Here’s a question for you – are your cows or calves ever mistreated?
Never. I like to think our cows and calves have better lives than we do. They have a personal doctor, a veterinarian, and a personal nutritionist (something I would love!). Our vet and nutritionist work closely together to keep our cows as healthy as possible. Our cows are shaded and protected from the wind at all times with access to water anytime they want it. We also keep their bedding as fresh as possible. I take personal responsibility for the health of my heard and want to make sure they are all healthy and growing like they should be. I spend a lot of time with our animals and care for them deeply.
Farmers are stewards to the land and stewards of God’s creation – I love this quote from the following video. Join me in watching to see a glimpse into a cattle farm.
Thank you Katie for sharing your family values and struggles with us. It’s easy to see you are proud to be a farmer. If you have a question for Katie, feel free to leave it in the comments!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by CommonGround Minnesota. All thoughts and writing are my own.