Mike and Sarah Weigel
Platteville, Wisconsin
Grant County
140 cows

How did you get into farming? I started milking when I was in high school. When I was 19 or 20 years old, I bought 15 cows. A year or two later, I purchased cows from my boss to help settle their family estate and farmed with my aunt and uncle for a few years before purchasing the current farm. Sarah said she quickly learned if she wanted to spend time with her farmer, she had to be on the farm. She began visiting while I milked and slowly began to learn what I was doing and started helping.

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? I’m worried about the difference between the cost of feed and the price of milk on the farm. I see expenses going up with milk prices staying the same.

What is the latest technology you implemented on your farm and the purpose for it? We purchased Waikato Expresso milkers. We also use AgSource DM, which helps us keep track of our production and reproduction.

What is a management practice you changed in the past year that has benefited you? Tail chalking; we’ve done this for multiple years, but using this in conjunction with AgSource DM and working with our vet has helped us with our reproduction.

What cost-saving steps have you implemented during the low milk price? We watch what we spend and where we spend it. We try to prioritize to make sure we take care of what we need versus spending money on things we want. We decided when we started we wanted to make dairy farming our lifestyle, so we do things to make that possible.

How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? We treat them like family. They are with us every day. They live our highs and our lows, and we live theirs.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. We are homebodies. The farm is our world, and it comes first with a few exceptions, of course.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? We enjoy raising our children on the farm, and now that they are teenagers, we get to work alongside them and see the pride they have in the animals and how much they love and respect all animals.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? You must ride the lows and highs, and keep on enjoying every day. Hopefully the highs will outnumber the lows.

What has been the best purchase you have ever made on your farm? Our freestall barn; we built it in 2016 and have seen a constant rise in both our cow comfort and production.

What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? Raising our family and being able to work alongside each other and our daughters.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? In the next year, we hope to keep making good quality feed and milk. In the next five years, we plan to keep paying off debt and to also see our girls off to college and watch them grow into adults. We would also like to possibly add more heifer facilities due to our growing numbers.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We like to go for side-by-side rides. We enjoy catching up with family and friends over lunches or bonfires with good food, drinks and laughs. A big part of our time is spent with the girls at their 4-H activities.