Lester Schafer was raised on the farm where he currently resides. He graduated from Buffalo Lake High School in 1944 and went on to serve in the military in 1945, where he was a member of the Army of Occupation in Germany after World War II. He was discharged from the military in 1947 and attended the University of Minnesota-St. Paul, where he graduated with a degree in animal husbandry.
The registered Hereford herd Schafer runs was originally started by his aunt and uncle in 1917. The farm received century farm status in 2000. Schafer purchased a scale and began collecting weaning weights on calves in 1960. When the AHA established the Whole Herd Total Performance Records (TPR™) program a few years later, he was one of the first to sign up.
Throughout the years, he has remained active in the Minnesota Hereford Association, the Minnesota Hereford Breeders and the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association. Schafer served as the secretary for the Minnesota Hereford Association for 25 years and has been inducted into the Minnesota Hereford Breeders Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Livestock Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Kathleen, have four children — Mary, Kala, Laurie and John. The couple have spent their entire lives farming and ranching on the same farm where Schafer grew up.