June 14, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.

Farm-fresh milk at the dairy breakfast

Nasonville Creamery bottles Ensigns’ own milk for event
The Ensigns – (from left) Taylor holding Edlin and Evan holding Tommy – dairy farm near Dorchester, Wisconsin. The Ensigns hosted the Abbotsford FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast June 5. PHOTO BY DANIELLE NAUMAN
The Ensigns – (from left) Taylor holding Edlin and Evan holding Tommy – dairy farm near Dorchester, Wisconsin. The Ensigns hosted the Abbotsford FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast June 5. PHOTO BY DANIELLE NAUMAN

By Danielle Nauman- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

    DORCHESTER, Wis. – As soon as they learned they would be hosting the 33rd annual Abbotsford FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast, Evan and Taylor Ensign set about making plans for something they felt would be truly unique to their breakfast: serving milk produced by their own herd of cows.
    “It has always been a thought that Evan has had,” Taylor said. “We have been working with Nasonville Creamery since March. They have been very willing to help make this happen.”
    The Ensigns have shipped to Nasonville Creamery since they first began dairy farming, and Evan’s family has been with the company for nearly his entire life.
    Nasonville Creamery arranged for a special pickup of the Ensigns’ milk early the morning of June 2 to be bottled and returned to the Ensigns’ farm in time for the breakfast Sunday morning, June 5. The milk was bottled into 2,220 16-ounce bottles, with 1,600 being chocolate milk and the remaining 700 being white.
    Evan said he was proud of the effort.
    “Unfortunately, it was cost-prohibitive to develop a special label, labeling the milk as from our farm,” Evan said. “But, the fact that we were able to serve milk produced right here by our cows is what matters to me.”
    The Ensigns, along with their children Edlin, Tommy, Dustin and Nakailah, reside on Ensign Rolling Acres near Dorchester close to the Marathon-Taylor County line. They milk 50 cows and farm about 275 acres of crop land, 80 of which they own.
    Evan was raised on a dairy farm. After attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course program, Evan began working on a neighboring dairy farm.
    “I worked there for eight or nine months,” Evan said. “I learned a lot working there, but I also realized that working in a large dairy setup like that wasn’t what I really wanted to do.”
    Following that experience, Evan returned home to his family’s farm to work as a herdsman, caring for his step-father’s registered Holstein herd for the next three years. Then the opportunity to move to the farm that Taylor grew up on presented itself five years ago.
    “It was a chance to get out on our own to make our own decisions,” Evan said. “It’s the reason why most of us become dairy farmers, to do our own thing.”
    Taylor’s family raised beef cattle on the farm they moved to. There was some work to be done to transition the farm back to a working dairy farm, but it was a challenge the young couple embraced as they set about making the place their own.
    “My parents had done their share of the upkeep, caring for the farm,” Taylor said. “Now it is our turn.”
    The Ensigns rotationally graze during the warm months. Cows are fed silage and grain in the barn during the summer months and haylage during the winter.
    Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Taylor taught agriculture at Colby High School. Following the end of the 2019-20 school year, she resigned from the position to work on the farm full time alongside her husband, and to focus on their family.
    With her history of teaching in the Colby School District, the Ensigns have been active volunteers working with the Colby FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast, but they did not shy away when they were approached by the Abbotsford FFA Alumni to host their breakfast.
    “I have always enjoyed working with dairy breakfasts,” Taylor said. “I like the teaching aspect, interacting with consumers and letting them see first-hand what a small family dairy farm is like.”
    The Ensigns have been busy this spring as they spruce up their farm for the breakfast. The Abbotsford FFA handled all of the details for planning and preparing the actual meal. A 40- by 80-foot tent was put up, and additional seating was made available in a shed.
    In total, 1,685 paid adults were served at the breakfast.
    In addition to featuring milk from their own farm, Nasonville Creamery cheese curds were also served, along with locally produced maple syrup made by a family in nearby Athens.


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