Information provided by: Tina Hinchley
Duane (58) manages the crops and feed. He works ground through harvest, makes haylage, corn silage, and mixes the different rations for the cows daily. He also manages the handling of manure for nutrient management. Tina (53) manages the cows, heifers, calves, and tours. Anna (21) is a student at UW Madison, graduating in 2020. She manages the cows, heifers and calves when she is not at school. Anna also helps regularly with tours and helps promote agriculture to others by managing our social media.
We are a dairy farm milking 240 cows with robotic milking machines. We have about 400 head of replacement heifers and dry cows. We also cash crop, running 2300 acres for feed and corn for ethanol. We are also an ag tourism destination, hosting tours annually for around 12,000 visitors.
Duane's parent's, Keith and Ruth, purchased the dairy farm in 1958. Duane has lived here is whole life, and Anna will be the third generation to farm here. Our farm is located in Cambridge, just 20 minutes southeast of Madison.
The goal of our farm is to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, while providing our cows the best comfort possible with the technology that we have invested in. We are a production dairy farm and breed for mid-sized cows that are feed efficient, while focusing on production. For the dairy tours, the main goal is to educate the public on the reality of dairy farming and agriculture while giving them a hands on, close up look into our rural lifestyle.
Our farm is unique because we have hosted farm tours for over 21 years. Ag tourism is a big part of our farm. The whole farm is set up to have a safe, bio-secure tour. We have our barns flow in a pattern that allows for a hayride to carry visitors around the farm to see cows, crops, and other varieties of farm animals. We host tours for three seasons annually, with more than 10,000 visitors coming to see our cows, calves, and everything else that we can pack into a two-hour time frame. Transparency is important to consumers, and by opening our barn doors, we are building trust and friendship with people from all over the world.
"Transparency is important to consumers, and by opening our barn doors, we are building trust and friendship with people from all over the world."
I like to think of the Wisconsin beef industry as many farmers of all sizes, working to create the healthiest animals that in turn meet the high demands of the consumers. Driving around Wisconsin, there are cattle on pasture and cattle raised in feedlots. These animals are growing into quality beef that is a nutritious and delicious part of family meals.
I am proud to say that our farm is also part of the beef industry, because every bull calf and cow that leaves our farm becomes beef too. Our farm tries our best to help eliminate animal stress by providing added comfort through waterbed mattresses, rubber flooring and proper injection sites when treatment is needed.
When talking to the consumers that visit our farm, they all have questions about the marketing that appears on the packages of products they are purchasing for their families. Antibiotics, hormones, GMOs and organic labels are big topics that need to be addressed. Hosting tours allows us to put a face to the farmer that is raising their beef, and gives us the opportunity to share and explain our practices and the love that we give to our animals. Oftentimes this eases their anxieties, and trust from consumers is something that we earn as farmers when we share what we do and why we do it.
"...trust from consumers is something that we earn as farmers when we share what we do and why we do it."