November’s farm family interview included not only mom and dad, Ryan and Molly Kappers, but their four young children, Haiden, Emily, Olivia and Avery, who range in age from 3 to 10. At the beginning of the interview, the kids were hesitant to talk, but as the interview progressed, they eagerly answered questions and shared their stories. Once outside, the kids became excited and had much to show and tell this newcomer to their farm.
Ryan’s grandparents purchased the farm in the late ‘60s. His parents, Jim and Janet Kappers, live a mile away. His dad always commuted to the farm to milk the cows before the herd was sold in 2004. Jim still comes over daily to help his son. In 2010, Ryan returned home from college after earning a degree in animal science. The family started milking cows again. At that time, Ryan worked full-time for his dad. In 2020, they sold all their cows, and Ryan went out and brought all new cows, proudly explaining, “Now everything is ours.”
The Kappers have 40 acres and raise Holsteins – 50 milk cows and 40 heifers. Jim has 70 tillable acres. Ryan purchases feed from his father.
Ryan is a full-time farmer and enjoys working by himself. Molly dreamed of being a teacher since first grade and is now an ag teacher in Rochester. The couple met during college and got married in 2011. Molly laughingly said she knew what she was getting into because she grew up on a dairy farm.
Molly helps on the farm, but not as much as she did before having the four kids. She also chauffeurs the kids to 4-H meetings and football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball, baseball, tennis practice and games, and swimming and dance lessons. It is a priority to Ryan and Molly that the kids are involved in activities, and Ryan makes sure that he can attend their activities, even if it means doing chores afterward.
Ryan proudly noted that the kids are a great help on the farm. Haiden drives the skid loader and can do anything that Ryan does with the skid loader.
Molly designed their spacious new home, which she had dreamed of ever since she was a young girl. She was a dairy princess and a Minnesota State Fair butterhead. Her three daughters plan to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become a dairy princess and a butterhead.
One year, the family decided to quit farming, and they moved to town, but that did not work for Ryan. Deep in his heart and soul, Ryan knew he was meant to farm and needed to keep at it. The kids did not like living in town as they enjoyed having the space and freedom to run around and play. It is also clear that the kids enjoy the animals as much as their parents and that Molly supports her husband 100% and wants him happy.
Ryan’s advice to future farmers is to keep at it. Don’t give up!