September 24, 2021 at 6:21 p.m.

Dairy profile: Don and Dave Hall

Don and Dave Hall
Tomah, Wisconsin
Monroe County
200 cows

How did you get into farming? Our dad farmed, and we just kind of took over. Dad set us up so we could have a nice operation to work with. He didn’t really give us anything, but he did give us a good opportunity. Not everybody gets that. Now Don’s two sons are involved and we have one employee.

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? We worry about how prices have gone for everything, and that is if you can get it. Supplies are hard to get, and equipment is almost impossible to get. We bought a chopper last December, and we still have not received it. We bought a feed mixer recently, and we are not supposed to get it until next August.

What is the latest technology you implemented on your farm and the purpose for it? A robotic feed pusher. It gets the feed pushed in at night when we are not here. We have it set for every hour at night. We can definitely tell when it doesn’t work because there is a lot of feed left over.

What is a management practice you changed in the past year that has benefitted you? We hired another person to have as an extra hand. He does what we do – a little bit of everything.  

What cost-saving steps do you implement during low milk prices? We try to keep up on equipment purchases every year, but when milk prices are low, we don’t purchase equipment. We make it last another year.

How do you retain a good working relationship with your employee(s)? We are good to work for. We communicate with them and try to be flexible.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. We are used to long working hours. We all do our thing: Dave is the breeder, and Don does the feeding. We all do a little bit of everything.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? Being our own boss and harvesting crops.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Don’t get in debt too far. We were always told if you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it. The only time we ever had to borrow money was when we built the parlor. And then we had it paid back fairly soon. The farm has been in the family over 150 years and that helps a lot. We just took our turn and will hopefully get it to the next generation to let them take their turn.

What has been the best purchase you’ve ever made on your farm? The parlor. If we were not milking in this parlor today, we probably would not be milking at all. We had a stanchion barn before, and we were milking 90 cows down there. At the time it was a big step. We thought maybe we would put a parlor inside the old barn and build a freestall barn behind it, but dad said, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” So, we moved everything up here and that was the best thing we ever did.

What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? Being able to remain profitable all these years. We think it is an accomplishment to get a sixth generation involved.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? In the next year, we will maintain what we are doing. In the next five years, we do not see expansion. We will continue to involve the next generation. If we did not have them, it would change our decisions.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We have season tickets for the Packers, so we go to one game a year.


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