Lodi family to host Columbia Co. Moo Day Brunch and more

Gloria Hafemeister
While Schoepp Farms may not be a traditional dairy farm, they’re connected to the dairy-farming community. They are proud to be very involved in conservation promotion and love to encourage and work with other farmers in regard to land-management practices that help retain soil on the land, and out of lakes and rivers.

June will be an unusually busy month for the Schoepp family of Lodi when they host the annual Columbia County Moo Day brunch and then, later the same day, a Conservation Day by the Lake sponsored by the Lake Wisconsin Farmer Led Watershed Council and others.

As if that isn’t enough, the week before, Kami Schoepp, whose grandparents, Dave and Nancy, and parents Ron and Tara, who operate the third generation farm, will celebrate her wedding right there on the farmstead that overlooks Lake Wisconsin between Lodi and Prairie du Sac.

While this is not a traditional dairy farm with milk cows, the farm is an example of how farmers care for livestock and the land.

Schoepp Farms is a third-generation family farm located in Westpoint township. Fred and Elizabeth Schoepp, along with their son David Schoepp, moved from a farm on Van Ness Road to this location in 1949.

Ten years later, David married Nancy Frey of Roxbury, and they raised five children on the farm: Dan, Tom, Judy, Ron, and Al. At the time, they ran a typical non-dairy farm, raising beef cattle, hogs, chickens and crops.

In 1993, Ron, the second-youngest child of Dave and Nancy, married Tara. Dave and Nancy built a new home next to the farm, and Ron and Tara moved into the original farmhouse.

Ron and Tara have three children, all of whom help around the farm. Their daughters, Lylia and Kami, now teach in the Lodi School District, and their son, Noah, works for Clemens Excavating Co., although he is often found helping around the farm, as well. They are proud to have raised hardworking children who love to be near the farm and their family.

At age 85, Ron’s father, Dave, still loves planting and harvesting almost every acre on the farm, and Nancy, 81, still enjoys tending her large garden and feeding everyone who’s at the farm for the day.

Since 1995, the family has been custom raising dairy heifers for an area farmer.  Recently they began caring for the farm’s dry cows as well. The Schoepp's do this along with raising crops using conservation tillage and cover crops to protect the soil and prevent erosion.

Twenty years ago, the Schoepps began to rotationally graze the dairy heifers, and in 2012, they built a heavy-use area (or feed lot) to hold the cattle when the ground is too wet for housing animals on the paddocks.

As for the dairy heifers and dry cows, the family believe their pasture system provides the exercise the animals need for easier calving. During the summer, the animals enjoy a sprinkler system and shade trees. There are wind breaks and shelters to keep them warm on the coldest days of winter.

Moo Day Brunch provides options

The Moo Day Brunch will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In past years, about 1200 visitors have attended the Columbia county event. This year's event will be a bit different with a drive through options where folks can pick up their pre-packed brunch or an in-person experience, where their brunch can be eaten right on the farm. 

Cost of the event is $7 for ages 11 to adult, $4 for ages 4-10 and free for those 3 and under with a paying adult. Those bringing a non-perishable food item will receive a discount of $1 off their admission.

Menu items will be individually packaged. Grilled-cheese sandwiches will be served, along with pizza, cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream sandwiches.

Antique tractors will be on hand for viewing. There will also be a pedal tractor pull, as well as other entertainment. Alice in Dairyland will also be on site.

The Schoepp family will have their farm equipment on display for visitors to view. The farm is located at N2007 E Harmon Rd., Lodi. Signs will direct visitors off of East Harmon Road since traffic will be one-way through the farm for the brunch with separate lines for drive-through and those eating on the farm.

Soil pits and more

Those attending the brunch will have the opportunity to check out the soil pits and other displays that will be available to view for those planning to eat at the farm. Social distancing and mask wearing will be recommended for the event except for during eating.

When the Moo Day Brunch has concluded the farm will switch gears, hosting “Conservation Day by the Lake”. Three local farmer-led watershed groups have joined together to bring Rick Clark, an Indiana farmer, to the event to share how he implements regenerative agriculture and cover crops to improve his soil health and sustainable cropping practices.

The event will also include three breakout sessions highlighting soil pits and rainfall simulator, cover crop planting and use of a roller/crimper, low disturbance manure injection and grazing of cover crops.

Since 1991, Schoepp Farms has been practicing no-tilling on their fields and have been using cover crops for more than 20 years. In that time they have been able to reintroduce animals into their row-crop rotation. Dave and Ron Schoepp will discuss their practices and visitors will see firsthand the results of this 30-year effort.

Having guests on the farm is nothing new for the Schoepp family who have hosted tours for classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, showing the benefits of the practices that help to protect the soil from erosion and build soil health.

This event includes a dinner and a second presentation by Rick Clark. The last part of the day will provide opportunities for networking among the farmers in attendance.

To learn more about the brunch or the Conservation Day contact the local Extension or Land and Water Conservation Office or the Sauk County LRE, Justine Bula at 608-355-4842.  Space is limited and reservations must be made by June 10.