Dairy farmers host ag community meetings, tours
JUNEAU - Four Wisconsin dairy farm families open their farms to the public for a free guided tour, ice cream, and an evening of discussion focused on working to strengthen the state’s rural communities.
The series of ACE (Agricultural Community Engagement®) On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings, Aug. 28, 29, 30 and 31, are free and open to community members, educators, leaders, local and state elected officials, conservation officials and dairy and livestock producers. At all four dairies, the farm tour begins at 6 p.m., with ice cream served at 7 p.m., followed by the facilitated Q&A to end by 8:30 p.m.
Dates and locations
Monday, Aug. 28 - hosted by Brooks Farms, N1757 Cty. Rd. A, Waupaca, Wis. (Waupaca County). Ron and Zoey Brooks are a father-daughter farming duo on their family’s sixth-generation dairy and grain farm. They milk 250 Holstein dairy cows and raise crops on 1,600 acres.
Ron serves as CEO, managing the overall direction and crop farming, with Zoey managing the dairy as COO. They are planning an expansion to triple the dairy herd, with a continued focus on conservation, vertical integration, and inclusive succession planning for future generations.
Tuesday, Aug. 29 - hosted by Mar-Bec Dairy, W962 Cty. Rd. NN, Mondovi, Wis. (Buffalo County). Marty Hallock is a first-generation dairy farmer who began milking 40 cows in 1990. Today, he owns and operates Mar-Bec Dairy with his wife Becky, and their sons, Jonathon and Josh, where they milk 925 cows and raise 1,000 youngstock at their farm and neighboring farms, and raise corn and alfalfa on 1,850 acres of owned and rented land.
The Hallocks focus on building an environment at their dairy for both cows and people to excel and enjoy. They have 17 full-time and 10-12 part-time employees.
Wednesday, Aug. 30 - hosted by Cozy Nook Farm, S11W30780 Summit Ave./Hwy 18, Waukesha, Wis. (Waukesha County). Cozy Nook Farm was established by the Wendt family in 1834 and is now owned and operated by Tom and Joan (Wendt) Oberhaus and their son, Charlie. The dairy is primarily a working dairy farm with 65 cows, mostly registered Brown Swiss and Guernsey cows.
For more than 50 years, the farm has also grown and sold pumpkins and fall decorations. Each fall, they run a Fall Market with a variety of pumpkins, squash and gourds, sell Christmas trees and decorations after Thanksgiving, and offer farm tours in the fall and spring.
Thursday, Aug. 31 - hosted by Ripp’s Dairy Valley, LLC, 6626 Ripp Dr., Dane, Wis. (Dane County). Brothers Chuck, Gary and Troy Ripp own and operate Ripp’s Dairy Valley farm along with their mom, Eileen.
Many family members are involved in day-to-day operations, milking 985 cows and raising crops on 1,800 owned and rented acres. Their focus on comfort and productivity of cows has allowed them to expand from about 260 cows in 1975 to current size.
“Our farm-hosts for the ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings are tremendous examples of the breadth of today’s Wisconsin dairy farm families,” said Shelly Mayer, Executive Director of PDPW. “Whether they are first-generation or sixth-generation dairy farmers, or whether they milk tens or thousands of cows, they are all focused on providing the best care for their animals, protecting the environment, and strengthening their local economies and communities.”
The four ACE On-the-Farm Twilight Meetings are provided by the Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and the Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW).
All four meetings are free and open to the public.
Walk-ins are welcome or, to help with preparation, please RSVP to Professional Dairy Producers at www.pdpw.org, 800-947-7379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.