"We’re making sure that we’re taking the best care of our animals as possible and that we’re treating them right.” - Doug Rebout
Farming has been a cherished tradition for the Rebout family near Janesville, Wisconsin. Their journey began as a dairy farm, but in March 2020, they sold the dairy herd, transitioning their focus to crops, dairy steers, and custom-raising heifers. The family continues to embrace sustainability, nurture their family bonds, and uphold the highest standards of animal care.
“The dairy farm is how we got started raising our Holsteins steers,” Doug Rebout said. “Over the years, we kind of expanded, and it has worked out really well. Taking care of a Holstein steer compared to an Angus steer, there is really not that much difference. We knew Holsteins, so that’s why we stick with it.”
Amidst the sprawling acres of their farm, Doug is privileged to witness every sunrise and sunset while working side by side with his family. The involvement of his daughter and nieces and nephews in farm activities is especially significant. Doug emphasized, "We’re a very close family, and just having that family around is so meaningful to us.”
They raise more than 4,000 acres of crops that they utilize as livestock feed. Doug said whether it is raising crops or cattle, they strive to be sustainable. For example, they practice strip-tilling, working up as little of the earth as possible.
“We’re leaving that soil as good as we can so we’re not getting the runoff,” he said. “We are leaving those nutrients right there. It’s really protecting our soil.” Crop quality is also crucial. “It’s just like us,” Doug said. “We want to have the best food that we can to keep us healthy. With our steers and heifers, it’s the same thing. We want to give them the good, quality feed.”
A nutritionist will analyze the feed to ensure animals raised at Rebout Farms are receiving proper nutrients.
“It’s no different than someone going to a dietitian,” he said. “The better we take care of them, the better and the healthier they are going to be.”
Doug also underscores the significance of continuous learning in agriculture. He likens it to any other industry, explaining, “Just like any other business, you keep going to different seminars because there is always more stuff to learn.”
As a testament to their dedication to staying current, the Rebout Farm actively participates in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state-implemented program that provides systematic information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how animal care techniques can be paired with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.
“It’s a volunteer program, and we’re making sure that we’re taking the best care of our animals as possible and that we’re treating them right,” Doug said.
He encouraged anyone who has a question about the beef industry to visit their farm and see how the animals are taken care of.
“The better we take care of them, the better and the healthier they are going to be.”