March 15, 2021 at 4:39 p.m.
How did you get into farming? I am the fifth generation on my family farm. After moving away and working construction out of high school for a few years, I came back because I realized there was no better place to raise a family.
What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? I worry that once the government funds stop coming, the oversupply of milk will create another crash in pricing for most farmers.
What is the latest technology you implemented on your farm and the purpose for it? I installed a Val Metal Alfred round bale feeder in my stanchion barn. I can now unroll and feed full round bales in my barn without having to process them. This allows me to make baleage instead of putting up all small square dry hay.
What is a management practice you changed in the past year that has benefited you? I cut back on the amount of row crops I plant. As an organic farmer, this has saved me a ton of time and maintenance costs. The extra time I get to spend with my family is priceless.
What cost-saving steps have you implemented during the low milk price? Being a member of Westby Cooperative, I have been fortunate in not having to take any drastic cuts in price. But doing most of the repairs myself and making our heifer and calf feed from our own grain has always helped keep costs down.
How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? Treat them like family. My only full-time employee is my dad. As for part-time help, I do my best to make sure they know how much I appreciate and value their time and effort.
Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I love to learn new skills, be a Jack of all trades, and I am not afraid to fail in the process.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? Knowing every day will be different from the last. This is a lifestyle that always has more to offer.
What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Don’t be afraid of different. Some of the best decisions I have made as a farmer were the ones that everyone said would never work.
What has been the best purchase you have ever made on your farm? My baleage equipment. Being able to put up high-quality feed under varying conditions, on my schedule, has made all the difference.
What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? Learning to balance farm life with family life. There will always be more work that needs to be done. But there’s only one moment to raise a family.
What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? I hope to spend the next few years maintaining what I have and paying down debt. If I’m lucky, there will be a no-till drill in my shed within five years.
How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We like to go to dairy events like breakfasts on the farm, county fairs and World Dairy Expo. With most of that being put on hold, we love to spend time playing in the woods and going on UTV rides.
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