Dairy Profile: Nate Melin

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Nate Melin
Atlas, Wisconsin
Polk County
60 cows

How did you get into farming? I was born into it. I am the fourth generation to farm here, and I am raising the fifth.
 
What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? As always, the rising cost of inputs concerns me as well as the fluctuating prices of income and battling Mother Nature.

What is a recent change you made on your farm and the reason for it? We are in the process of updating some stalls in the barn, and within the last few years, we purchased the farm’s first ever four-wheel drive tractor, which was long overdue and much needed on our heavy ground.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I am laid back and go with the flow. Patience is also helpful.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? My best decision was to marry my wife. All joking aside, the decision to simply continue to dairy and push through has been the best one made.

What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? Mountain Dew, a handy side kick (a kid or my wife) to be a runner and a helper and my headphones with music.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? It’s important to always plan for a low because history tells us there is always one coming again. Don’t go buck wild buying when prices are up.

How do you maintain family relationships while also working together? Family relationships can get tested at times, but it’s important to keep business and family separate. Don’t let feelings get hurt. Don’t let them stay hurt. Communication is important, and you need to laugh a lot.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I’m my own boss. And, I like being able to do it with my family.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Keep on keeping on.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? Next year, get the crops in and out in time. Put up good feed. In five years, put up a calf barn and gain more land.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? Seems like the time not doing chores or something related to the farm is slim. We took a family camping trip last year, and my wife hopes to make it annual. We enjoy bonfires in the yard, grilling out and playing catch.

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