Dairy Profile

Zach Stoflet of Rozellville, Wisconsin | Marathon County | 90 cows

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How did you get into farming? I grew up around the farm. My grandparents farmed here, and I spent a lot of time on the farm with them when I was a little kid. They retired in 2008, and the farm was rented by someone until I graduated in 2018 and started dairy farming here. 

What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? Obviously, milk prices are concerning. You never know what will happen with those. I also worry about the increasing regulations we face, particularly in the areas of animal health and what drugs will be removed from our toolbox. Keeping the cattle as healthy has possible is becoming more challenging as things that work to treat certain illnesses are taken away.

What is a recent change you made on your farm and the reason for it? I built a freestall barn that we moved into the end of July and doubled the herd size, going from 45 cows in the tiestall barn to the current 90 cows. I filled in the gutters in the old barn and milk two groups in there with a flat-parlor style. 

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. I’m pretty mechanical and can do most of my own repair and maintenance work. I can also breed my own cows, and I am pretty good at diagnosing and treating health problems within the herd. 

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? Building the new freestall barn, without question, was the best decision. The all-around improvement in cow comfort has been amazing. The cows are happy and comfortable, and milk production is up. They are able to walk around as they choose rather than being tied up in the stalls. I knew right away, after touring some other barns, that I wanted to use Easyfix flexible stalls. 

What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? I couldn’t live without the skid loader. I use it for everything and anything. It saves a lot of wear and tear on a body. Second would be the automatic takeoffs in the parlor. I like seeing the milk temperature information. It helps me detect health issues before they become a problem. Third would be the flexible stalls. The cows never have issues getting up or getting stuck, and I never see cows that are banged up from the stalls. 

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? I try and keep expenses minimal. I only purchase things that are necessary and put off purchasing things I want. I really watch spending. 

How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? My help is mostly family, friends and neighbors. My girlfriend helps with milking and calves. My dad helps as he can, and I have neighbors who help. We switch back and forth, helping each other with fieldwork. The biggest thing is to be respectful of their schedules and be appreciative of their time. I try to let everyone know how much I appreciate them helping me. 

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I like that no day is ever the same. I would go crazy having to be in an office or a job that every day was like the one before. You can start the morning thinking your day will go in one direction, and by the end, it can have taken a completely different track. 

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? I would tell others to try and stay positive. There is so much negative in the world and in the dairy industry right now, but stay focused on the positive. Keep pushing forward, and things will get better. 

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? For the next year, I just want to keep improving what we are already doing. In five years, I would like to explore a robotic milking system or building a parlor onto the freestall barn. I’m not certain about robots because I really enjoy milking my own cows. 

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? That is a hard one because it seems like I’m always doing something on the farm. I like spending time with friends and visiting with other people, but we usually end up talking about farming. During the fall, I enjoy deer hunting. 

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