Winifred is the master breeder at Bestyet A.I. Sires, and she’s the one you’ll most likely talk with if you call or email. She has been working with our herd since 1981 when she took a summer job on the farm that became a lifelong calling as she married Kenneth a few years later. (Here’s the story.) After his passing in 2005, she has carried on the breeding and conservation work. She takes care of the daily cow chores and milking, and helps with haymaking and manure hauling.
She writes columns for the local newspaper about farm and family life, helps with teaching her grandchildren, and volunteers at the local elementary school when possible.
Winifred transforms milk from the herd into butter, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, much to the delight of the family. Her talent in the kitchen extends to baking. In fact, her grandchildren consider her synonymous with the healthy homemade muffins that she makes so often.
Brian and Martha (Hoffman) Kerestes
Martha grew up following her father Kenneth around working with the cattle, and it has been her lifelong dream to follow in his footsteps. She loves learning from his cattle history and breeding books. Martha manages the website, blog, and social media.
Brian and Martha were married in June 2020 and are partners with Winifred in the cattle and breeding work. They are committed to carrying on with the family genetics business. They are settled onto Brian’s grandfather’s farm where they keep part of the breeding herd and raise crops with conservation practices.
When they’re not working on the farm, they enjoy exhibiting antique tractors and cattle at area shows so they can share the rural heritage with non-farmers.
Paul is the full-time master farmer of our family’s 220 acres of certified organic ground. He incorporates growing forage for the cow herd into his crop rotations, including innovative cover crops and field trials. He and his wife and children also graze a small flock of hair sheep, and make their home in the old farmhouse where his grandmother grew up.
Now that Martha and Miriam have left the home farm, Paul helps as needed with cow herd duties, specifically as the A.I. technician.
Paul’s in charge of the all the fieldwork, and serves as farm mechanic and maintenance foreman.
Her first sentence was, “I see a cow!” From the first bottle calf she eagerly raised, to mentoring young 4-H members, she has always loved working with the herd.
While Miriam has moved away to college at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is now serving as a 2020-21 National FFA Officer, her involvement with the cows lives on. She mastered and passed on a natural method of handling and training calves, so if you get a sweet calf from us you can thank her for it. Many of her favorite moments on the farm have been when she took a timid heifer and, in as little as a few days, turned it into a gentle, calm creature. She believes very strongly in mutual respect and love between human and bovine.
Even though she’s away from the farm now, her work with agriculture education students and the ag industry has been enriched by her roots here. She still loves to come home to visit the cows, buck some hay bales, pitch some manure, and help out in whatever ways are needed.
Ben is Paul’s right-hand man during crunch times, fitting in fieldwork after hours working from his home in nearby Earlville in computer and telephone technology. Paul often says it’s nice to have a tractor driver “who really knows what he’s doing,” and Winifred does not take offense, since she will only drive something that’s already hooked up and ready to go, and preferably with one of the men nearby to supervise.
Because of his computer expertise, Ben is our “techie on call”, helping us to stay connected to you all.
Ben also keeps a large garden at the home place, and he and his wife enjoy bringing their little boys out to forage in the “yummies” (as their youngest calls the peas and strawberries and other treats from the garden) and look at the tractors.
When Seth left the farm for engineering school, his contributions to the family enterprise remained here in the form of a well-equipped farm shop he and his brothers had built during high school, and conscientiously restored barns and outbuildings which have made our cow care so much more manageable and enjoyable.
He is now a licensed Professional and Structural Engineer, and still serves as informal consultant to his brothers’ numerous building projects.
Seth and his wife live an hour away in Aurora, Illinois, and their little daughters love to spend time at Grammy’s farm seeing the cows.