Cooperative honors members

Gloria Hafemeister
Awards were presented for production, service and dedication at the Dodge County Dairy Testing Association Cooperative’s annual meeting last week in Juneau. Among the recipients are (from left) Kyle Zwieg of Zwieg’s Maple Acres in Ashippun for twice-a-day milking cheese yield; Leo Fischer, a 25-year employee of the cooperative who also earned the AgSource Field Technician of the Year award; David Koepke of Koepke Farms, Mapleton, recipient of the three-times-a-day cheese yield award; and Richard Schulz, Neosho, a former board member who was selected as Honoree of the Year.


JUNEAU - Dairy producers with high production and excellent quality and long-time testing association employees were recognized when the Dodge County Dairy Testing Association Cooperative held its annual meeting at the Juneau.

Members of the cooperative also elected new directors to replace two board members whose terms had expired.

Brenda Conley, Neosho, completed her term as a director for nine years and the Association’s president for the last five years. Her first involvement with the Testing Association was as a lab technician. In that position she checked in samples, entered them in the system, and assisting other technicians with the testing process.

When her first daughter was born she left that position to work full time on her family’s dairy farm.

Conley said with all the recent upsets in the dairy industry over finding markets for milk the DHIA board has remained committed to help. She said over 20 using the Dodge County DHIA services were affected.

Noting that farms are all in the business together, she said, “We don’t know what the future may hold for them, but to know the fact that they have tested with us shows that these farms (and the rest of the farms using our services) are committed to producing quality milk and that should make a great impression of their farm to any future processors.”

Russ Warmka, Fox Lake, secretary-treasurer, also completed his terms on the board.

Members elected Tom Bruins of Waupun and Danny Peirick of Watertown to fill the director vacancies. Anthony Brossard, vice president, was re-elected as a director.


The organization recognized Neosho dairyman Richard Schulz as “Honoree of the Year.” Schulz served on the board for four years and was one of the farmers to struggle to find a market for his milk after Grassland Dairy notified many of its members that it would no longer purchase their milk. Schulz found a market and says the six-month contract he received from DFA will give him some time to contemplate the future of his family’s dairy.

Several producers were honored for production and quality during the last year.

Curtis Zimmermann, Fox Lake, earned the top quality award with a low somatic cell count of 56 and a linear score of 1.4. He milks 118 cows on unofficial test.

In the official test category, Chad Breuckman, Columbus, earned the top quality award with a somatic cell count of 76 and a linear score of 1.9 on his 132 cows.

Koepke Farms of Mapleton earned the top cheese yield award for three times a day milking. The family milks 350 cows with a cheese yield of 3299 pounds and a total milk production of 31,791 pounds.

Earning the cheese yield award for twice-a day-milking is Zwieg Maple Acres Farm at Ashippun. The Zwiegs produced a cheese yield of 3117 with 29,858 pounds of milk production average for their 81 cows.

In the colored-breed category Gurn-Z-Meadow, Columbus, farm earned the top award with their 38 cows producing an average of 24,853 pounds of milk and a cheese yield average of 2797 pounds. They milk three times a day.

Members also recognized the years of service for employees including Leo Fischer who served twenty five years as a field technician. Fischer earlier had been honored by AgSource as the Technician of the Year.

76-year history

The Dodge County Dairy Testing Association Cooperative has a 76-year history of testing milk for not only Dodge County member farms but also other independent DHI cooperatives in the state. Testing not only components but also diagnostics allows patrons to have value-added service to a single DHI sample.

The organization currently serves 143 supervised herds in the county with an average of 142 cows per herd and 25,588 pounds of milk production per cow per year. There are also 31 unofficial herds utilizing DHIA services with an average of 88 cows per herd and 20,869 pounds of milk per cow. Eight herds are enrolled in the component-testing-only program