Ashland County Dairy to host Chequamegon Dairy Day
ASHLAND COUNTY - While most people view the northernmost part of Wisconsin as merely a tourist attraction full of trees, hunting, fishing, and home to Lake Superior, there are still modern dairy farms in the region.
One of these is Deer Creek Farm owned by Brian and Jamie Anderson. Their farm will host the annual Chequamegon Dairy Day from 11a.m. - 2 p.m., Sunday, June 11. The event is sponsored by the Chequamegon Dairy Association, a nonprofit group serving Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron counties.
Chequamegon Dairy Association receives yearly funding from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board in order to promote the dairy industry along with dairy products in the four-county region.
Due to the funding received, the association pays for half the meal. The public can enjoy a $5 picnic style lunch, with kids 10 and under being free. Food will include BBQ and roasted pork.
Dairy products from local businesses are also on the menu, including cheese from the Benoit Cheese Haus, Benoit, WI; and ice cream from Tetzer’s Dairy of Washburn.
Those who just want the dairy experience without the lunch, can simply enjoy a day on the farm with many fun attractions including: Maggie the Cow, a real size, fiberglass cow that you can actually milk, a bounce house, and check out the automatic calf feeding system.
The history of Deer Creek Farm dates back to 1975 when Brian’s parents Lyle and Marie bought the farm and began milking just 17 Holstein dairy cows. Twenty years later Brian graduated from New Richmond technical college with a degree in dairy herd management and came back to farm.
By then Lyle and Marie were milking 65 cows but with Brian joining they decided to expand. In fall of 1995, cow numbers were increased to 180. Four years later the herd grew to 300.
In 2002, Brian and Jamie bought into the farm. They were now a 50/50 partnership with his parents. Jamie also quit her job at Bretting Manufacturing this same year to farm full time. The partnership remained the same for 12 years.
By 2014, Brian and Jamie bought his parents share and became sole owners.
Brian credits the success of the farm to his parents, “they’re the ones that really started it,” he said. “If they didn’t have something here when I came home I couldn’t have started farming with nothing and be where we’re at today,” said Brian.
Jaimie chimed in, “We had the opportunity to prosper.”
The farm today
The present day farm includes 800 owned acres, 1600 rented acres, 500 milking cows (mainly Holsteins), and all female youngstock.
Brian is responsible for overall management of the farm including artificial insemination, while Jamie’s duties include bookkeeping, calves, fieldwork, and milking.
The Andersons have three children: Bryce 18, Emma 14, and Mandy 9, who each have their own special jobs on the farm. Bryce helps with feeding and fieldwork and will be attending UW-Madison short course in the fall. Emma feeds calves and cleans the heifer barns. Mandy is learning from job shadowing her parents.
In addition to family labor, Andersons have five full time employees (one has been there for 17 years), three part time employees, and five seasonal employees.
Cows are milked three times daily in a Germania double 12 parallel parlor and boast an outstanding 100 pound milk per cow daily. Quality milk is exceptional in the herd, as it consistently averages between 100 - 120 somatic cell count.
The lactating cows are housed in two barns which have sand bedded freestalls for extra comfort. One barn is equipped with tunnel ventilation. Fans and sprinklers keep the other barn cool on hot summer days.
Calves on the farm receive top care along with some of the newest technology available as they have access to an automatic/robotic calf feeding system. Andersons built a new loose housing calf barn and installed the robotic feeders in October 2015.
Calves can drink up to 9 liters per day whenever they would like, all they have to do is walk into the stall and suck from the nipple which will release pasteurized milk.
This will be the third time Deer Creek Farm has hosted Chequamegon Dairy Day (1998, 2010, 2017).
For more information or questions about dairy day call 414-758-8823 or like the page “Chequamegon Dairy Association” on Facebook and send a message.