Habitat & Conservation  |  11/03/2022

Dairy Farm Tour Kicks Off New Partnership in Wisconsin

What the milking parlor looks like at a modern dairy farm: Sassy Cow Dairy.

A June 25 field trip to Sassy Cow Dairy in rural Columbus, Wisconsin, marked the inaugural event for this new partnership

By Josh Bendorf, Wisconsin Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist

Over the past few months here in Wisconsin, Pheasants Forever staff have been formalizing a new partnership with Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW). PDPW is a network of dairy farmers and supporting industry across Wisconsin and beyond, providing education on new ideas, innovative solutions and trusted resources for their network. A June 25 field trip to Sassy Cow Dairy in rural Columbus, Wisconsin, marked the inaugural event for this new partnership. This tour was part of the Wisconsin PF & QF State Convention being held in nearby Sun Prairie.

Sassy Cow Dairy Land
Touring the mosaic of land use at Sassy Cow Dairy.

James Baerwolf, co-owner of Sassy Cow, served as our tour guide around this modern dairy farm. Tour attendees were not deterred by some light rain and were able to see a grassed field border that James established around a crop field. This strip of cool-season grass allows James to better manage the field as it is odd-shaped and the outside rows were not as productive. The strip also provides some supplemental forage for his cattle. James also finds great value in planting perennial grass for grazing. The value of perennial grass to James’ farm from a business perspective was evident, but we also discussed the many environmental benefits of perennial grass on a dairy farm, including soil health, improved water infiltration and quality, carbon capture … and wildlife habitat.

After the field portion of the tour, attendees were given a tour of the milking facilities. Participants got to see a robotic milking machine in action. As many of our tour attendees had not spent much time on a working dairy farm, this was a unique learning experience for them. The tour was topped off with ice cream from the Sassy Cow Creamery.

This is only the first event of what we hope will be a long and prosperous relationship with PDPW. Our goal is to work with PDPW to connect with other dairy farmers like James in Wisconsin and be a trusted resource for conservation projects and education. We hope to build on the great work that they are doing already!

By Josh Bendorf a Wisconsin Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Fall Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!