Farm Horizons, November 2008

Wearing many hats to keep the family farm

Jennifer Bakken
Staff Writer

Randy and Colleen Klaers are proud to say they have managed to keep their farm along the shores of Lake Sarah, just as Randy’s father, Richard Klaers, and grandfather, Joseph Klaers did.

For more than 90 years, this land has been farmed by a member of the Klaers family, though there have been some changes.

About 14 years ago, they decided the dairy business was no longer for them, and became interested in a different type of cattle – a breed called BueLingo.

“We sell privately, halves and quarters. The breed has a white band around their middle,” said Randy Klaers, while explaining what makes his cattle unique. “Because they are most often black, some call them the Oreo cow.”

The BueLingo breed was developed in North Dakota, on the Bueling Ranch, by Russell Bueling and R.B. Danielson of the Animal Science Department of the North Dakota State University at Fargo.

The early BueLingo borrowed genetics from the Scotch Highland, the Belted Galloway, the Angus, the Limousin, and the Shorthorn Cattle.

According to, the breed suits today’s needs for fast growth, high fertility, docile disposition and lean carcasses. The distinctive white belt around the middle isn’t exclusive to the breed and is present in other animals such as goats, pigs, horses, mice, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Since both Randy and Colleen grew up on area farms, they knew when they were married they would continue this family tradition. Randy is a 1981 Delano High School graduate, and Colleen graduated the following year.

Four years ago, they attempted to remodel the family farm house. The floors walked by two generations of Klaers and walls that had stood for about as long as Minnesota has been a state weren’t possible to keep any longer, and they built a beautiful new home

After 23 years of marriage and two sons, Aaron and Rilee, the Klaers admit they have had to wear many hats to keep the family farm a float.

Colleen is the office manager for Crow River Harley- Davidson, formerly Donahue Harley, where she has worked the entire duration of her marriage. She also works part-time for Festivities in Medina.

Randy has been employed by Randy’s Sanitation for the past 14 years and, along with his herd of 23 BueLingos, continues to farm about 200 acres of corn, beans, and alpalpha crops.

This would seem enough to fill anyone’s schedule, but the Klaers also have another business. They own and operate Independence Horse and Carriage Company. With their draft horses, they provide carriage rides for events, parties, and weddings.

A beautiful two-seat Victoria carriage is intimate and elegant, and sure to help riders escape their busy lives and hectic schedules, and a 12-passenger wagonette offers fun for any group.

“We may be adding a sleigh too,” said Randy. “We offer dinner rides at Woodland Hill Winery, too, which is such a great place.”

If you add it all up there, is five jobs between the two of them – the cattle, the crops, the carriage rides, Randy’s Sanitation, Crow River Harley-Davidson, and Festivities. One may wonder how they could possibly have time for anything else, but Colleen manages to find time occasionally for things she enjoys.

“I love working with stained glass, stamping, painting and wood crafts,” said Colleen. “That is, when I have time.”

Their oldest son, Aaron, an eighth grade student at Delano Middle School, also shows BueLingo cows in 4-H – something both Randy and Colleen are also involved in.

These days it seems more and more difficult to keep farms in the family, but the Klaers are wearing many hats to hopefully pass this legacy on to their sons one day.

For more information regarding Independence Horse and Carriage Company or the Klaers BueLingo herd, contact them at (763) 479-4393.

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