B & R Dairy Equipment
Ben Netzke, of Nicollet, purchased the dairy equipment business May 11, 2018.
Ben also owns Midwest Refrigeration & Heating, Nicollet, MN.
Cell Phone: 507-317-6056
Tom Witucki, General Manager, started his employment with B & R during the early years. Tom loves “helping dairy farmers improve their milking situation making their lives easier and more enjoyable.” Tom grew up on a farm and often helped neighbors with baling and milking. He has a vast list of skills, including good insights and creativity in solving a dairy producer’s needs for remodeling or new installations. Tom is more than willing to give his personal cell phone number to customers so he can help them anytime. Tom bids most jobs and oversees installations. It is also common to see Tom volunteering to help his family and friends with their building and construction projects. The future will include, Tom says, “more technology to help farmers be more profitable.” Tom and his wife, Celeste, have 2 children and two grandchildren. Tom loves spending time with his precious granddaughters, gardening and smoking meat.
Ryan Johnson, Service Technician, came to B & R Dairy after 8 years of farm experience. Ryan lives in Bird Island with his wife, Natashia, and their three children. He enjoys his coworkers and the farmers for whom he works. In addition to his service at B & R Dairy Equipment, Ryan also volunteers at the Bird island Fire Department, enjoys playing golf, bowling, and loves being a husband and father. In the next 10-20 years of the dairy industry, Ryan sees more robots coming into operation. Ryan’s favorite pastime is baseball.
Tracy Schaefer, is our Route Specialist, Tracy currently lives in rural Fairfax with his teen-aged son. Prior to joining B & R Dairy Equipment, Tracy was a dedicated dairy farmer, specializing in his love and passion for registered Holstein cattle. Tracy’s position gives him the opportunity to “work with my customers to fix any issues they may have.” He also enjoys the successes of his customers. In addition to hanging out with his son and attending school events as a father, Tracy enjoys his most important passion: dairy show cattle. Tracy can be found judging shows, leading a sale crew of dairy cattle, and showing cattle at various state shows. Currently, Tracy serves as a board member for the Minnesota Holstein Association.
Jim Kuphal, Office Manager. Jim was a dairy farmer for over 20 years before he decided to go back to school where he received a degree in Ag Production/Accounting and Accounting/Micro Computer Specialist from Mankato Vo-Tech/South Central Technical College, Mankato. Jim likes “being able to help our customers get the right parts, and having the right parts in our store for our service technicians. “I also enjoy being with my co-workers.” Jim’s unique history as a dairy farmer and the love of numbers as an accountant, makes a perfect fit for his position at B & R Dairy. “I find it interesting to meet our customers in person after talking to them over the phone many times.” Jim still lives on the farm he grew up on, outside of Winthrop, with his wife, Myrna. Jim and Myrna have four adult children. Jim loves watching most Minnesota sports (Vikings mostly), and visiting his children. In February 2019, Jim became a grandpa for the first time and is loving it! Being active in church, school, DHIA board, and township board (for over 30 years), Jim still finds some free time for exercising and remodeling his old dairy barn into a shop/storage shed for wood working and mechanics. In the future, Jim says “The dairy community will continue on the same path it is currently on. There will be fewer and larger dairies. I hope that the family dairies will survive and we will not have to rely on commercial dairies.”