Danika Kent (center) is a third generation owner of Kent Limousin. Beside her are her father, Terry Kent and grandfather, Ronald Hanson, who have both been owners of the business and are willing to help out with the cows. (Photo by Linda Andersen)
By Linda Andersen
Reprinted with permission from North Country Beef Producer, Bagley, MN
Kent Limousin, located just three and one-half miles south of the Canadian border near Lancaster, Minn., looks to continue a successful operation as third generation granddaughter Danika Kent takes over the operation.
“She’s the boss,” said her grandfather Ron Hanson who, at age 84, is very happy that his granddaughter is home to take on much of the farm responsibilities. He said he’ll help out the first year and then would like to do some traveling.
“He won’t quit working,” predicted Danika, in response to her grandfather’s statement about taking life easier.
Ron Hanson grew up in the nearby, currently unincorporated town of Orleans where his father worked as a rural mail carrier, first making deliveries with horses. Ron followed in those footsteps, first delivering mail out of Orleans and eventually becoming the postmaster at Lancaster.
He began farming and built a house at his current location, first raising sheep and polled Hereford cattle. In the “late 80’s or early 90’s” he, along with his daughter Kathy and son-in-law Terry Kent began buying and breeding with Limousin bulls. He served as a director for the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association for several years and enjoyed the “mixing with cattlemen” which came with that involvement.
Terry Kent moved to Lancaster in 1978 when he secured an elementary teaching position at the Lancaster Public School. He had grown up on a farm in Southern Minnesota where his family raised feeder cattle, pigs, soybeans, and corn. He met Kathy Hanson and they married in 1983.
Kathy, who loved and participated fully in the work of the farm, lost her life to pancreatic cancer in 1997. “She could do everything. She was very strong for being a tiny lady,” stated Terry, adding that he remembers her carrying a one hundred pound calf to the house so they could warm it up.
One of two children of Terry and Kathy Kent, Danika Kent, inherited her parents’ and grandfather’s love of agriculture. “I love the cows,” Danika stated a couple of times during a recent interview. A 2005 graduate of Lancaster High School, she is an impressive young woman who has earned three bachelor’s degrees – a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science in Equine Science from the University of Minnesota Crookston and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Production from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Tex.
Her life in Texas included not only college, but barrel racing and work. She shared the following about her experience in the world of barrel racing: “Barrel racing came to be the main thing that kept me in Texas. Stephenville, Texas, is the ‘Cowboy Capital of the World.’ I didn’t realize what that meant until I lived there. It’s a huge rodeo community, like nowhere else on the planet…I worked for some world champion barrel racers while I lived in Texas. I traveled around the United States and Canada helping one of them, Molly Powell, teach barrel racing clinics…Now, back home, my barrel horse spends more time checking calves and fences than competing. But barrel racing is more popular here now than it was when I moved to Texas 10 years ago, so I can still compete when I find or make the time.”
While in Texas, Danika, began an association with two employers who still employ her (in her Northwestern Minnesota location) today. She was an editor with Barrel Horse News for three years in Texas and now works for the publication as a freelance writer. She worked as a vet tech and inventory manager for Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals and continues to work full-time with them in the latter position from her Lancaster location today. That job requires periodic trips to Texas.
She has a cute story to tell about her interview for the equine hospital position. “When I interviewed for BVEH, my boss asked me two questions: Where I was from, and what I wanted to do with my life. I told him I wanted to own 1,000 cows and ride fast horses.” (She said her boss thought she was a “little crazy.”)
Will Danika be making changes at Kent Limousin? “She wants to call the cows instead of chase the cows,” reported Ron.
“She’s talking about more efficient ways of feeding and pasture management,” added Terry.
“We’ve all been on the same wavelength. They know what works…I trust what they do,” stated Danika, implying that changes won’t be real drastic. “They are open-minded and willing to let me try implement new things. If or when it doesn’t work out like I thought it would, they help me adjust and go forward. That’s so important and so encouraging to me,” she said. Danika did say she would like to try rotational grazing and bale grazing.
Dylan Kent, Danika’s brother who is a physical therapist with Altru in Grand Forks, also helps out on the farm when time permits. Danika called him her “absolutely favorite person to work with.”
The Kent Limousin Operation consists of approximately 2000 acres of owned and rented land, some of which are planted in corn, alfalfa, wheat, and soybeans.
One hundred forty cows calved this spring. They AI their heifers and a number of the cows with semen from industry-leading bulls, and when buying herd bulls, most often look to Wulf Limousin in Morris, Minnesota, or Symens Brothers Limousin in Amherst, South Dakota. They typically contract their calves to Wulfs, and each year sell yearling and 2-year-old bulls locally by private treaty.”
What do they enjoy about farming? “I enjoy when we sell them…You get a finished product you can sell and be proud of,” said Terry.
“Watching them grow. I spend lots of Sunday afternoons just watching the cattle,” responded Ron.
“I love the genetics. I love AI’ing cows and seeing those calves born in the spring and how they fit into our herd or someone else’s herd” said Danika. She added that one of her goals is “to give the cattle a really good life while they’re here…I’m very thankful God has given me a chance to take care of His animals.”
What advice would the elder farmers offer to young farmers? “Try to improve the herd all the time,” stated Ron.
“You don’t have to start out with the best, most expensive stuff. You’ve got to get by and pay your dues and get your bills paid,” advised Terry.
To learn more about Kent Limousin and the Limousin breed, visit kentlimousin.com/
KENT LIMOUSIN’s shown here in a pasture. Danika Kent, is in charge of the herd, but gets help from her dad, Terry; brother, Dylan; and grandfather, Ronald Hanson to keep everything running smoothly. (Photo by Danika Kent)