Back to Her Roots: Iowa Dairy Farmer Shines
July 16, 2021
Four years ago, sixth-generation dairy farmer Megan Kregel returned home to her family’s dairy farm in Clayton County, Iowa. This was something Megan initially postponed as other opportunities in the dairy industry presented themselves. However, Megan missed the cows. “And the timing to return home to the barn brought me back,’ she says.
Megan shines bright in all that she is involved with, and her roadmap includes attending Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa, before transferring to Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames to earn a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. Naturally, Megan loved supporting dairy farmers, like her family, and advocating for the industry she grew up with seemed like a natural fit. So, after graduating from ISU, Megan rolled up her sleeves and went to work in communications and promotion for the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation in Calmar.
Nearly seven years later, the opportunity to return home to her family dairy farm presented itself. Her family farm, Kregel Dairy, switched to robotic milking a few years prior and needed help with managing the herd. Today, as the herd manager, Megan helps oversee 400 milk cows and manages the youngstock too. “I feed the calves in the morning and my mother does it at night,” she says. The young farm woman’s role goes well beyond feeding calves, as Megan oversees youngstock, hoof trimming and creating and managing the farm’s to-do lists, including moving cattle and vaccinations.
Away from the farm, Megan is very involved in her community. She is a member of the Iowa Dairy Experience and Agricultural Leadership Program and she serves as the chair of the Iowa Dairy Princess Advisory Council. Also, Megan is part of the Clayton County Dairy Promoters where she is very proud of the role her county has played in providing all the fluid milk to local food shelves. As an active Farm Bureau member, Megan was asked to apply for the young farmer leadership award, an opportunity that she nearly humbly passed up, feeling she didn’t qualify. Recently, Megan was notified that she was one of the award recipients of the Farm Bureau Young Leadership Award.
Dairy Girl TikTok
Finding her way to reach consumers and addressing their questions about dairy, Megan started a TikTok account nine months ago to reach a larger audience with her positive dairy messages. Beginning with a couple of short videos has allowed her to gain more than 150,000 followers, as well as nearly 4 million likes. “I wanted this to be a positive experience and I also wanted to be committed to sharing dairy’s story well,” she says.
The experience has been overwhelmingly positive for Megan, as she intertwines some humor from those Jersey cows with teachable moments on the farm. “TikTok has made me a better dairy farmer,” Megan says. “I now look at different tasks on the farm, like vaccinating heifers or trimming feet from a different viewpoint.”
In videos showing daily interactions with the cows, Megan says it is obvious to viewers that her cows are well cared for, and she notes that “every dairy farm takes good care of their cows.”
“At least once a week I get a comment or message from someone saying I changed their mind and they will start to purchase dairy products again after seeing one of my videos,” she says. “That is such a rewarding part of this outreach with TikTok.”
Megan’s most viewed video, with more than 5 million viewers, includes her favorite cow, “Sparkle,” who recently got her feet trimmed. Quickly putting a video together, Megan told viewers that Sparkle was not only getting a pedicure, but she was also getting some fresh paint. Then she sprayed Sparkles’ hooves orange. “Everyone instantly loved this video,” Megan adds.
With a ring of her finger, Megan’s recent engagement has her in the process of moving some of her favorite Jerseys to Dubuque County Iowa, where her fiancé, Ted McAllister owns and operates a dairy in partnership with his brother. Ted milks 250 Holstein cows and grows all their forages, too. Megan will change roles again, but she is excited to put her talents to good use, focusing on her future farm taking on the calf management duties. “I’m sure I’ll take care of a lot of the cow responsibilities, too,” she says. “I want to be an integral team member to help the farm reach our overall goals and future ambitions.”
The couple plan to wed next August, and in addition to running a dairy farm with her new groom, Megan will continue engaging with consumers and addressing questions about dairy through her rising TikTok account. Follow her @megan_dairygirl.