Sustainability Stories

Celebrate Wisconsin Dairy Farmers

Caring for our Planet with Sustainable Farming Practices 

Dairy farmers take pride in protecting our land and water for the future of our families, farms, and communities. From the farm to your fridge, Wisconsin dairy farmers continue to make great strides when it comes to environmental impacts. Changes such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and food waste, recycling water, and using manure to create energy are just some of the ways our farmers care for the environment.

Farmer Stories

Want to talk with one of these or another industry-leading dairy farmer in your coverage area to learn more about their sustainability achievements? 
Contact Liz Fitzsimmons at 608-444-3820 / lfitzsimmons@wisconsindairy.org
 

Brickstead Brewery

Four Cubs Farm

Gary, Cris and Ben Peterson are the fourth and fifth generation owners of this dairy farm. Ben and his wife Nicki also own a 'Grain to Glass' brewery in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. They use the spent malted barley from the brewing process to feed the cows, preventing it from entering a landfill. The cow waste is used as organic fertilizer on their barley fields. GPS technology is used to precisely apply fertilizer based on crop needs. Yield and application data is collected to manage things like use of herbicides, fertilizers, and manure. All of this allows them to maximize yields while protecting the environment. 

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

Koepke Farms

The Koepkes have always been big believers in sustainability. In fact, Koepke Farms was one of the first area farms to enact several sustainability efforts that farmers more commonly do today. They utilize no-till, cover crops, and integrate livestock into the landscape to build a healthy soil community. This does great things for the rest of the environment, like reducing the carbon footprint by not plowing and sequestering carbon within the soil. In fact, Koepke Farms can document it has sequestered about 10,000 tons of carbon in the past 20 years. Their efforts also reduce soil erosion and help foster clean water in the local watershed - an organization they actively participate in to improve water quality. 

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Alfalawn Farms

Brothers Dave, Randy and Dale Styer are still working in the same area that their great grandfather did in the late 1850s. But things are a little different today. They milk 2,000 cows every day and continuously strive to improve the farm’s sustainability. Every gallon of water they use is recycled three to six times. And the farm manages cover crops, which has lowered the level of nitrates in the water around the dairy and helps keep the soils and nutrients in place. They also utilize sand bedding because sand is comfortable for the cows and it’s reusable. The sand gets mixed in with manure, separated, washed and sanitized. These initiatives allow them to reuse 98% of the sand, use the manure as fertilizer and recycle the water.