Diederich Farm: Moving forward
Friday, December 1, 2017
Posted by: Joanna Wavrunek, digital communications manager
Raymond (left) and Daniel Diederich
Diederich Farm was originally started by John Roels in 1914. He sold the farm to his daughter Margaret and son-in-law Anthony Diederich. They made improvements and added land through the years.
Their son Raymond and his wife Debra bought the farm from his parents upon graduating high school in the 1970s. Over time the herd was increased and the farm transitioned to a parlor and freestall barn. They began using computers, nutrient management planning and conservation tillage. When Daniel graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he assumed management and began planning for another round of expansion and implementation of robotics.
This year, the family planted no-till, some into growing cover crops, and added four more milking robots, cattle genetics, intensive rotational grazing for heifers and new facilities for dry cows and calves.
DBA: What are you most proud of on your farm?
Diederichs: Our ability to integrate the latest technologies and methods. From milking robots and robotic feed pushers to cloud computing to no-till farming and cover crops. We like to push the boundaries and see the edge of what is possible. We think it is fun to help write the book on what is possible.
DBA: How do you engage the non-farming public about dairy farming?
Diederichs: We actively maintain our Facebook page. There, we have many followers who do not farm, especially because of Daniel and his wife Sarah’s connections outside of agriculture. Daniel speaks at a number of Green Bay area schools about dairy farming for career days and educational sessions. The most impactful way is by building one-on-one connections with the random people you meet. We take every opportunity to talk about our farm. We are lucky that most people are genuinely interested in what farmers do. It provides us a great opportunity if only we seize it.
DBA: What advice would you offer to young farmers?
Diederichs: Learn finance and accounting. They are the base of every business and having a firm grasp of them is imperative to success. Get involved in your co-ops. Young farmers are the future and our needs for cooperative direction only get met when we make our voices heard. You aren’t too busy at your home farms. You can’t afford to be because you have much riding on your cooperatives operating well. You are never too young to be involved and don’t let naysayers tell you otherwise.
DBA: You have been a member of DBA since November 2010. What benefit do you find most helpful?
Diederichs: Having a voice specific to the challenges faced by dairy farmers in the political arena is important. We also use DBA as a sounding board for issues we have experienced with the state Department of Natural Resources and for ideas we generate regarding our social media interactions.