The Klopp Family of Zurich have recently expanded to the sixth generation with the birth of Brinley, daughter of TJ Klopp and his wife Jocelyn. We also me TJ’s dad, Paul, and his aunt Diane Klopp at the farm. Two and one half families are supported by the farm, while both TJ and Paul’s wives – Jocelyn and Heather – work off the farm.
The Klopp’s raise Black Angus cattle on their 150 acre “home” farm. Black Angus are well mannered animals without horns and a smaller frame than many other beef cattle breeds. Therefore, they don’t require as much feed to grow to maturity. TJ and his wife and new baby live at the home farm, while dad Paul lives on a 200 acre farm nearby. They breed their 150 cows with their own four bulls to grow 130-140 calves annually, some born in the spring, some in the fall. The calves are 650 – 700 lbs at 7-8 months old (pictured here) and they are butchered at 1100-1200 lbs (12-15 months old).
This farming family know the parentage of their beef cattle which is an important aspect of their natural farming operation. They buy hay to mix in with their home-grown fall oats (green) and if necessary, they cut in some straw to cut high protein levels. The animals are grass fed during summer months and housed in the barn during the winter.
TJ and his dad also farm approximately 2600 acres of cash crop plus do 1500 acres of custom work each year. They were still planting corn at the time of our visit and had soy beans, white kidney beans and wheat planting to follow. (It was a very late spring, in 2014) My dad was a bean farmer and I didn’t know this – specialty beans require specialized combines and the Klopp’s own 2 “edible bean” combines (not just the combine heads, completely different combines). Having different combines takes longer to take crops off the field but the different niche products do garner a better price at market.
(Aunt) Diane markets frozen meat products at local farmer’s markets in Grand Bend, Exeter, and Bayfield. She highly praises the local Zeh
rs abbatoir as a vital part of their business success. As you travel along Hwy 83 between Exeter and Grand Bend you’ll find a freezer for farm-gate sales on site at her property just west of the home farm. on Hwy 83. Between July and October, Klopp products are also available at the popular Masse Family Market near St. Joseph.
TJ shared a little about his lifestyle on the farm touting the ability to works for himself (somewhat*) as appealing. He grew up watching his Dad and feels like he was born to farm and never wanted to do anything else. He earned a Diploma in Agriculture from Ridgetown Colllege. And, while working with family is sometimes challenging he finds he mostly is butting heads with his dad because they are too much alike.
The family farm employes two full-time employees. TJ is the day-to-day manager.
The Klopps had a devastating barn fire in 2005 and rebuilt using The Quest University model. The water is naturally insulated from the ground; high efficiency lighting and automatic curtains on a 12v motor allow this barn to use very little energy.