Dairy princess enjoys pitching in wherever needed on the farm, in county

Kayla Biel is the 2018 Fillmore County Dairy Princess. She said one of her favorite things about life on the farm is learning the many personalities of the cows. PHOTO COURTESY OF BROOKE BOELTER PHOTOGRAPHY
By : 
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

A lot of hard work goes into putting milk on America’s table.

And 2018 Fillmore County Dairy Princess Kayla Biel knows just how much.

Kayla, the daughter of Kevin and Kelly Biel, recently was crowned the Fillmore County American Dairy Association Princess in late February.

The oldest of seven, Kayla said she loves life on the farm and how her family works together to get everything done.

She and siblings Kelsey, Krissie, Klaudia, Kenny, Korra and Klara are the fifth generation of Biels to milk on the family farm. The Biel children range in age from 8 to 18, and Kayla said they all have their role to fill.

“We’re all pretty busy. We used to be part of the Harmony Helping Hands 4-H Club, but now we are family enrolled. Mom keeps us all in order,” she said.

Kayla started her 4-H career showing rabbits and chickens and added dairy steers in sixth grade and dairy heifers and cows by eighth grade.

“Five of us are in 4-H and the two youngest are Clover Buds,” she said.

Family effort

Kayla said when summer comes and it’s time to show at the fair, it’s all hands on deck at the Biel farm.

“We’re all pretty busy. Kelsey and I are involved in a lot of things, but when May comes, we help our younger siblings with breaking their heifers to lead,” she said.

“The oldest ones help the little ones. My little brother is 10. I’m trying to teach him how important it is to get them broke in, or he’s going to get killed in the show ring.”

Kelsey said when show week comes, each knows what needs to be done.

“Kelsey is good at clipping. I’m good at keeping the animals calm, so I try to step in and help the little ones . . . Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a village to show cattle,” Kayla said.

Her duties

Kayla said she is extremely excited to start her year as dairy princess.

“This year I get to go on classroom visits, visit care centers, be in parades and work in the malt stand to help promote our local dairy community,” she said.

She recently was the first grade Friday “mystery reader” in her sister’s class.

“The kids were so excited,” she said. 

In addition, Kayla and two of her siblings, Kenny and Klaudia, both newly crowned dairy ambassadors, also get to help during Dairy Night at the Farm, which will take place Saturday, June 16, at Roadside Dairy near Preston.

“We also will be in quite a few parades, where the ambassadors will throw out cheese sticks,” she said, listing Cherry Grove, Harmony, Rushford and Buffalo Bill Days.

“I’m really excited,” she said.

She said her own experience will help her be a role model as she helps the young ambassadors with their duties over the next year.

“I think we have a great program under seventh grade. This is important to them. They all live on farms. With some of the negative publicity (about the dairy industry) on social media, it is important to help these kids learn to communicate with others about the dairy community,” she said.

In addition to siblings Kenny and Klaudia, other Fillmore County Diary Ambassadors include Emma Mulhern, daughter of Cory Mulhern and Kathy Mulhern of Fountain; Miles Tweten, son of Chad Tweten and Billie Tweten of Fountain; Caden Johnson, son of Trinity and Emily Johnson of Peterson; Carson Johnson, son of Trinity and Emily Johnson of Peterson; Isaac Oian, son of Steve and Toni Oian, of Peterson; Sarah Schriever, daughter of Paul and Nicole Schriever of Harmony and Faith Schriever, daughter of Paul and Nicole Schriever of Harmony. 

Other activities

Kayla is a recent Fillmore Central High School graduate who was involved in many activities. These included FFA, 4-H, the one-act, the spring play and musical, track and field, band, jazz band, choir, Tapestry, Knowledge Bowl and the National Honor Society. She has also held officer positions in many of her organizations.

 This fall, she plans to attend South Dakota State University to major in dairy production while taking part in a pre-vet program. She plans to work as a large-animal vet some day.

“I hope to stay just as busy there!” she said.

About the farm

The Biels milk 200 cows with the help of Kevin’s parents and some hired hands.

“Milking two times a day in our double-eight parlor and taking care of all our calves and heifers on-farm, keeps us on our toes,” said Kayla.

“Holsteins make up most of our herd with jerseys and cross breeds sprinkled in. I take care of our calves, help milk, do fieldwork and help with all the odd jobs. Working with the cows and getting to know all their personalities is my favorite thing to do on the farm, as long as you don’t ask me in the morning,” she joked.

The farm raises all of its replacement heifers and keeps its dairy steers to sell as fat cattle.

Her passion

Kayla said this summer she is excited to be able to talk to other farmers and consumers and hear their dairy stories.

“Informing other people about my experiences on my family's farm is something I’m extremely passionate about. I want people to know all the good, hard work that goes into our farms and appreciate those long hours with every glass of milk they enjoy,” she said.