WCA to host Summer Production tour

WCA
The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association's Summer Tour on June 26 will features three stops near Madison, including two beef farms and processing plant.

The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association (WCA) announced the return of their annual Summer Tour. The tour, set for June 26, will features three stops near Madison, Wis. The goal of the tour aligns with WCA’s mission to promote networking and education among beef producers.

The first stop on the tour will be Roche Grain and Cattle Farm, near Columbus, Wis. The farm began operations in 1852 and is now on its 5th generation of Roche’s, currently operated by brothers Kevin, Dennis, David and their wives Tracy, Amy, and Jacki.

Today, the farm encompasses a 1,300 head feedlot, 3,760-acre grain operation, 445,000-bushel grain drying facility, and a composting amenity. The farm produces corn, soybeans, wheat, rye seed, and trical/rye forage. After harvest, all fields are planted to a cover crop.

The Roche’s are active in Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil and Water with a keen focus on sustainability. The feedlot finishes groups of Holstein steers, dairy beef crosses, along with native steers and heifers. Cattle arrive at weights between 475-700 pounds and are fed for 150-320 days with a target market weight of 1,400 pounds.

All pens of cattle are tracked for dry matter intake per day, daily gain, and profit per animal. Cattle are housed in both bedded mono slope and slatted floor barns, and waste from the bedded barns is handled by the composting facility. The feedlot utilizes feedstuffs from the cropping operation, including tri-cal/rye forage, corn silage, corn fines, and distillers.

The second stop on the tour is Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe located in Rio, Wis. What started in 1996 as a local deer processing facility in a small building quickly grew and soon began processing beef based on local requests. As the business expanded, the building has been remodeled to add additional processing capacity and retail space.

Johnson’s Sausage Shoppe currently processes about 40 head of beef per week, and 50-70 hogs per month. Johnson’s offers custom processing, private labeling of beef, and retail sales of meat, cheese, and spirits. At this stop, Jeff Swenson (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection) will provide an update on the state of local beef processing in Wisconsin, as well as direct marketing of beef.

The final stop will be at Marda Angus Farms, located just outside Lodi, Wis. Dave Quam founded Marda Angus Farms when he bought his first Angus female for 4-H in 1940.

The goals of the operation have been consistent for the past eight decades – strive to raise cattle that meet the needs of commercial cattlemen as well as purebred producers throughout the nation. By staying true to the goal and not chasing fads that come and go, Marda Angus Farms has been able to raise cattle that withstood and survived trying times.

After four generations, Marda Angus Farms transformed through many different changes and remodels, but the one constant has been their breeding program. The program is based on sound economic principles that drive the cattle industry which is evident in the many cow families found at Marda Angus Farms today that date back to the herd’s original foundation females.

The tour will also have special guest speakers, including Don Schiefelbein, 2021 NCBA President-Elect. Schiefelbein will provide an update on NCBA efforts in Washington D.C. on behalf of cattlemen.

Both lunch and dinner are provided on the tour. Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation throughout the tour. Registration for this one-day program and meals will be $50 for WCA members and $100 for non-members. Registration is also available online at https://www.wisconsincattlemen.com/events/summer-tour.

Please contact WCA with questions at 608-228-1457 or info@wisconsincattlemen.com.