Heller Farm: Work hard, play hard
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Posted by: Joanna Wavrunek, digital communications manager
The Heller family has a unique dynamic that incorporates dairy farming and barefoot water skiing!
Blake and Janell and their sons, Cody and Shane, along with Cody’s wife, Majesta, own Heller Farm Inc. in Alma Center, Wis., where they milk 1,500 cows. This barefoot waterskiing champion family carved an acre out of their cornfield to create a lake called Blue Moo, where they practice their skills and host national events. They are passionate about dairy farming and barefoot waterskiing.
DBA: What are you most proud of on your farm?
Hellers: We are most proud of the diversity of our farm — to have a beautiful growing dairy farm and within the farm have a world class waterski tournament site.
DBA: What sustainable practices are you using on the farm and what benefits have you seen?
Hellers: In 2013, we installed a methane digester that produces enough electricity daily to supply the entire dairy and about 200 homes. This also helps us become more sustainable. We are able to utilize the separated solids as bedding, thus reducing the amount of bedding we have to purchase and haul on our roads, and the amount of manure that we have to haul out.
DBA: What advice would you offer to young farmers?
Hellers: I would advise young farmers to surround themselves with a network of peers who are the same age and those who have much more experience. Having the ability to work with and discuss challenges and successes with those in the same age demographic, while also having a network of experienced professionals to seek advice from is critical to long-term success.
DBA: What does the future hold for Heller Farm?
Hellers: Heller Farm will continue to work to expand its dairy herd. While doing so we are constantly working to create better living environments for our animals through upgraded facilities. In the future, we are looking toward opportunities to expand on the facilities that we have for waterskiing events.
DBA: You have been a member of DBA since September 2015. What benefit do you find most helpful?
Hellers: The most helpful aspect is the direct inroads with those at the state Capitol who are decision-makers. DBA is a phenomenal conduit to get our concerns, thoughts and issues directly to lawmakers and policy-makers.