EPA administrator visits Wisconsin dairy farm

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Golden E Dairy farm founder Ryan Elbe gives EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler a tour of the family's 2400-cow dairy on June 15. The farm produces fluid milk to Dairy Farmers of America and employs several conservation measures.

The Elbe family rolled out the red carpet on Tuesday, June 15 in honor of EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's visit.

Wheeler stopped at Chris and Tracey Elbe's dairy farm, Golden E Dairy, in West Bend for a farm tour, according to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

“Conservation and caring for the environment is something that Wisconsin farmers care passionately about,” said WFBF President Joe Bragger. “It was an incredible experience to host Administrator Wheeler on a Wisconsin dairy farm to show how we care for the land, livestock and our other natural resources.”

During Wheeler's visit, the Elbe family showcased how water used to cool milk is recycled for the cows to drink as a conservation practice. They also walked the Administrator through the process of milk traveling from their farm to the grocery store shelf in less than 48 hours.

“It was truly an honor to host the EPA Administrator on our farm so we could showcase our conversation practices and highlight the involvement of each of our family members,” said Washington County Farm Bureau member Ryan Elbe who along with his siblings, is the second-generation at Golden E Dairy. “We appreciate the Administrator coming straight to the source to learn about agriculture and how regulations and policies impact our day-to-day lives.”

Raising a milk toast with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, left, during a tour at Golden E Dairy Farms in West Bend on June 15, 2020, was EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede, DBA President Tom Crave, second from right, and WFBF President Joe Bragger, right.

By working on a neighboring dairy during high school, first-generation farmer Chris Elbe grew his herd from 25 to 2,400 milk cows on the farm today.

Before visiting the dairy farm, Wheeler visited UW-Milwaukee for a tour of the School of Freshwater Sciences where he nnounced the selection of the first-ever Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Trash Free Waters grant.

Harbor District, Inc. was selected to receive a $492,300 grant to construct and install a trash collector on the Kinnickinnic River just south of W. Becher St., about a mile south of the conjunction of the Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee Rivers.

"The Great Lakes is home to one of the largest sources of fresh water in the world and the Trump Administration is committed to protecting and restoring this cherished resource,” said Wheeler in a news release. “This will make  visible difference to an Area of Concern in Milwaukee.”

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation is the state’s largest general farm organization representing farms of every size, commodity and management style.