Fetzer Farms: adapting, improving
Monday, June 5, 2017
Posted by: Joanna Wavrunek, social media specialist
Adapting is something the Fetzers do very well.
The dairy farming family takes pride in improvements over the years to adjust to modernization. Fezter Farms was established in 1914 in Elmwood, Wis. In 1968, the Fetzers were the first in their area to build a freestall barn and parlor for 120 cows.
Brothers Steve and Paul returned to the farm in 1993 following the retirements of their grandfather and uncle. In 1995, Paul, Steve, another brother Joe and their dad spent the next several years developing a plan to grow the farm economically and in an environmentally sustainable way. Betsy Fetzer, mom of the brothers, remains active in the business as an owner. Fetzer Farms milks 1,370 cows.
DBA: What are you most proud of on your farm?
Fetzers: We are most proud of our ability to expand the farm while increasing cow comfort and production, and being protective of natural resources. Our dad passed away in 2004 and we think he would be very proud.
DBA: What sustainable practices are you using on the farm and what benefits have you seen?
Fetzers: We strive to keep up with technology advancements that make sense for us. With our last expansion in 2008, we switched to sand bedding, with a sand/water separation system.
DBA: How do you engage the non-farming public about dairy farming?
Fetzers: We encourage people to stop by our farm for a tour. We enjoy having people see for themselves the practices we have in place. We have hosted visitors from all over the world.
DBA: What do you see as challenges and opportunities facing the dairy community?
Fetzers: Our family farm is four years into having members of the fifth generation back in the business. Our fear is that added regulations may make it more difficult to do business in the future.
DBA: You have been a member of DBA since August 2001. What benefit do you find most helpful?
Fetzers: As longtime members of DBA, we find it helpful to be part of an organization that has a strong and respected relationship with legislators.