Hello; my name is Eric Timm, and I am the fourth generation of my family to own and operate this farm, which was first homesteaded by my great-great-grandfather in 1888. That’s more than 125 years of pride, progress, productivity, and change. Another word would be sustainability.
Here I am today growing crops and raising animals on the same land as my great-great-grandfather; with cell phones, computers, powered equipment, automated milking machines, and instant access to information; and he didn’t even have electricity. It’s hard to imagine what life, and farming, were like over 100 years ago.
What hasn’t changed is hard work and daily chores, and the fact that the business of dairy farming is 24/7/365. That is the reality. It’s a passion; it’s a lifestyle; it’s a calling. It’s a pride and satisfaction in knowing that you are producing a healthful and sustainable basic food product that can be further manufactured into numerous dairy foods for consumers to enjoy every day, in a healthful way.
Our address is in Wilson, Wisconsin; about 12 miles west of Menomonie, Wisconsin. The farm now totals 280 acres; of which 160 are owned and 120 rented. We have 90 acres of pasture for our cows; and grow corn, oats and alfalfa-hay on the other land. I have a mixed herd of 40 milk cows, and also raise 50 replacement heifers.
The farm has been certified-organic since 2003; after a three-year transition of farming practices on the land, and very specific animal care certifications. It was a big decision to convert; and has not been regretted since, as the demand for organic milk has steadily climbed.
I joined Westby Cooperative Creamery as a certified-organic member in 2011. I was impressed by the parallel 100-year history of the cooperative to our family farm history. It’s about past, present, and future. It’s about local family dairy farms, and being a member of a cooperative dairy business that has grown from under $15-million to over $60-million in revenues in about ten years. The cooperative has a solid track record and history, and a promising future that I’m pleased to be part of as a member-owner.
It’s very unique that a cooperative can have members producing two types of milk. We have members, like me, producing certified-organic-milk; and other members producing what the industry calls conventional milk; both of which are rBST-free.
With these two milk sources, our cooperative has the capability to produce cultured dairy food products and hard cheeses for a diverse and ever changing food industry marketplace. In addition to our own Westby brand, our Creamery manufacturing facility produces a number of private label brands of cottage cheeses, sour creams, dairy dips, and yogurts; along with cheese curds and hard cheeses.
If you’re near Westby, please stop in at our Country Goodness Cheese & Gift Store and pick up some of our high-quality and great tasting dairy products. And, if you’re near Wilson, please stop by my place for a tour of our fourth generation family dairy farm. I may even put you to work on some of my daily chores.
Take care – Eric Timm