Manske family recognized at state fair
The Manske family was honored at the Century and Sesquicentennial Farm Awards breakfast during the Wisconsin State Fair on Aug. 11.
Current farm owners, Matt and Kathy Manske were there to accept the award that honored their farm’s 150 years, along with their son, Jared, their daughter, Amy and her husband, Jon.
The Century Farm and Home Program began in 1948 in conjunction with the State of Wisconsin’s Centennial Celebration. To qualify for the award, families are required to provide proof of continuous family ownership of a property in the state of Wisconsin for either the last 100 or 150 years. Hillshire Farm was the sponsor of the event.
“We are proud of this accomplishment,” Matt said. “Even though we are doing things faster and more efficient today, it’s an honor to still be doing what my family was doing 150 years ago. Farming runs in our blood.”
Norman, Matt’s dad, is 92 and still lives on the farm.
The Manske family farm is south of New London and is a working dairy farm. In April 2014 the family moved their 50-cow herd into a brand-new facility. Their new free-stall barn and parlor allowed them to grow their herd to about 190 cows and accommodate Jared coming into the business after graduation from UW-Platteville.
Jared, 22, plans to form a LLC with Matt and Kathy after his final semester this fall and slowly take over management.
“I’m proud to be the sixth generation on our farm,” Jared said. “I don’t think the work will ever be done because there are constant improvements I want to make, but our expansion was the first big step.”
The family included new technology in their upgrade, such as LED lighting, 54-inch fans, sand bedding, a slip-free cobblestone floor print in the cow aisles, wide stall dimensions, a recycled water system, strategic water placement and in-floor heat. The free-stall barn is four-row rather than six so the cows have more bunk space and stalls are away from the colder outer walls. They also are working on getting their computer monitoring system in place to better track cow health.
“After years of planning, our barn was built with many things in mind but especially the cows,” Kathy said. “We want them to be as comfortable as possible. Cow care is our number one priority.”
The family hosted ‘Open-Barn Days’ the past two years in June, where they invited the general public out to the farm for tours, cheese samples and milking demonstrations.
“With less than two percent of the population involved in production agriculture anymore it’s hard for farmers to connect with their customers. These Open-Barn days were a way we could invite the community to visit a modern dairy farm and answer their questions firsthand.”
Amy currently works for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation in Madison. She lives with her husband Jon in DeForest and still helps with chores when they visit on the weekends.