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University of Minnesota Extension

Marshall County Farm Family

Ryan and Karen Griffin Family

Ryan grew up on a dairy farm near Rochester in southeastern Minnesota. He and Karen have been involved in the dairy industry since 2003. Ryan and Karen purchased their first foundation animal in 2005 and two years later they moved to the Thief River Falls area of northwestern Minnesota. In 2008, the Griffins purchased their current farm in Marshall County. The family has focused their dairy on genetics. They market embryos and breeding stock throughout the country.

Currently, the Griffins milk 12 registered Holsteins, all Red Holsteins or carrying the red gene. The family focuses on breeding cows that last and are successful in the show ring. They put heavy emphasis on milk quality and cow comfort. For the past three years the Griffins have been recognized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Land O’ Lakes for being a top herd in the state for exceeding milk quality standards.

The family also raises a few dozen laying hens and a dozen ducks. Eggs are gathered daily and sold locally.

Ryan is in charge of the milking herd and management of the farm. He makes all breeding and feeding decisions. Karen helps with animal care and handles the farm’s finances. She also coordinates farm visits of individuals and groups who want to learn more about the farm and the animals. The Griffins are champions of consumer education. The family teams up with a local kindergarten to pair students with a heifer calf. The students get to follow the life of the calf during the school year.

The Griffins’ children, Curtis, Evelyn and Agnes, help care for the animals and help prepare them for various shows.

Ryan serves on the National Red and White Dairy Cattle board of directors and the Marshall County Extension Committee. Karen is a worship leader and is involved with the Awana Club at the family’s church. She serves as township clerk and on the Red River Valley Emerging Leaders Program.

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