Melissa Hanke
Marshfield, Wisconsin
Wood County
75 cows

Family: My family consists of my husband, Michael, and our children Madison, 6, Marvin, 5, Maverick, 4, and Manning, 2.

Tell us about your farm. Our farm is owned by my dad. I am the fourth generation. My grandpa bought the land in 1900 and built the barn in 1910. My dad took over in 1988. I have been working full time for 20 years since I finished college. I own about 40% of the animals. We raise our own feed and sell leftover commodities. We have both Holsteins and Red and White Holsteins, and raise all our heifers. We also raise steers. I also have a herd of 20 Angus and Red Angus brood cows.

What is the busiest time of day for you? The afternoon is the busiest time of day for me whether it is doing crops or feeding and milking. A lot of work gets done then.

When you get a spare moment what do you do? I like to garden in the summer and work on landscaping. In the winter, I enjoy baking and hopefully will get some reading done this year. I also love taking my kids to parks.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. My most memorable experiences have been saving animals’ lives or birthing calves. I also love my kids experiencing everything on the farm.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? I love the dairy industry because of the vast knowledge we need and the amazing people we meet along the way.

How do you stay connected with others in the industry? I stay connected to the dairy industry by my involvement in 4-H and by spreading the word of agriculture to many people I meet. I love to educate and have my city friends and their kids come out and enjoy the farm.
 
Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? My father is my inspiration in the ag industry. I was always working alongside him as a youngster. He has an amazing drive and optimistic side. He taught me a lot about farming and his knowledge.

If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? I would love to have the first lady tour the farm. Our government officials have become too far removed from the reality of agriculture, and they need more exposure to the everyday life of a farmer. It would help in making better policies and sticking up for rural America.
 
What is the best vacation you have ever taken? The afternoon we took the kids to the new zoo and to see Thomas the Train in Green Bay three years ago. I loved seeing how excited the kids were.

What are some words you like to live by? Love, laugh, be kind, take chances and hold Jesus close by.