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Koester Farm

Farm Kid Uses Downtime to Educate and Entertain

Have you ever wanted to glimpse the inner workings of an Indiana dairy farm? Thanks to one Indiana teenager you can experience that and more.

A soccer and track athlete, Vanderburgh County 4-H member Reagan Koester was sidelined in 2019 when she tore her ACL, had double-knee surgery and faced months of stay-at-home orders.

“That experience changed her and taught her to have more empathy for other people,” says her mom, Lisa. “Then the pandemic hit, and she witnessed her peers affected by the isolation. She knew what it felt like to stay at home and miss milestones during rehab.”

As the daughter of Indiana dairy farmers Dale and Lisa Koester of Wadesville, Reagan wanted to inspire and help people using her agricultural background. She did just that.

In partnership with Purdue University, 16-year-old Reagan created a virtual Ag Day video about the family’s robotic dairy farm. In the video, Reagan shares her passion for agriculture as well as the process of raising and milking dairy cows.“I was born into a fourth-generation family farm,” Reagan says. “My dad and his three brothers own the farm and work together. I take pride in playing a small role in feeding the world.”

Koester Brothers Farms consists of four brothers – James, Ray, Duane and Dale – and their families. The Posey County farm includes a robotic dairy with 200 cows as well as food-grade corn and row crop production.

“We take great care of our animals, making sure they are well fed, comfortable and happy,” Reagan says.

During the pandemic, Reagan and her sister, Lindsey, also began providing virtual school field trips via Zoom for area teachers educating their students online.

Teachers couldn’t take their students on field trips due to COVID-19 restrictions. Reagan and Lindsey filled that void with live virtual tours of the family’s robotic dairy barn and calves raised on the farm.

“The questions the kids asked were amazing,” Lisa says. “The students were so excited to get to experience something like that.”

Reagan and a friend also created a fun virtual farm jokes skit, which was recognized at the 4-H virtual performing arts competition and featured at the virtual FFA State Convention.

Additionally, Reagan completed a service project aimed at foster children called Glam and Grit. With foster children among her extended family, Reagan sought to help teenage girls gain confidence by giving them inspirational books and glamour packs of makeup along with tutorial videos showing how to apply it.

Evansville Youth Resources also asked the girls to write a blog highlighting activities students could do during the pandemic.

“Reagan made it her mission to spark joy in others virtually, and the pandemic created so many opportunities for her to serve others,” Lisa says.

As a result of her 2020 outreach efforts, Regan was named Tri-State Indiana Youth of the Year.

Reagan’s brother, Travis, and sister, Lindsey, are both Purdue University students, and willingly assisted with several of Reagan’s outreach efforts.

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