“Our cows are like our family. If they’re not happy, we’re not happy.”
Alan Qual dispenses this bit of wisdom as he passes stalls of calm, nearly silent cows. Happy cows.
Ensuring happy cows is a family affair at Qual Dairy near Lisbon, N.D. Alan and his brother, Rod, are the senior partners at the dairy and grain farm their father acquired after returning home from World War II. Joining them are Alan’s sons, Mark and Jon, and Rod’s sons, Nathan and Tyler.
“It makes you proud when your children come back to the operation … that they feel what you’re doing is a worthwhile goal,” Alan said.
Dairy farming is not so much a job as a way of life for the Vogts. Four generations of the AMPI-member family have cared for cows and produced milk at their farm in Sauk Centre, Minn. Ken and Sally Vogt partner with their sons and spouses, Aaron and Nicki, and Ethan and Kari. They are carrying on a legacy begun when Elmer Vogt, Ken's father, bought the farm in 1961.
"Family is the most important thing," Ken says about dairying alongside his sons. "I'm so proud to be working with them."