Norwalk, Wisconsin

Lawn View Farm

Welcome to Lawn View Farm/Menn’s Registered Jerseys. My name is Harvey Menn. My wife Jackie and I own and operate a sesquicentennial farm nestled in the hills of Monroe County, near Norwalk, Wis. We farm approximately 250 acres and milk 85 registered Jersey cows.

This is the farm that I grew up on. It has been in the Menn family since my great, great grandfather homesteaded the land in 1854 – making me the fifth generation to own and manage the dairy operation. I’ve always loved farming. I enjoy a good challenge and farming is just that.

Jackie and I began our journey together in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I was studying agriculture education, and she was studying dairy science. After I finished college, I returned to my family’s farm. We married in 1988 and two years after that, we purchased the farm from my parents.

Jackie was working for the University of Wisconsin-Extension as a 4-H youth development agent when we married; however, after our second child was born, she decided to stay home with them and help on the farm. We have four children – Kayla (31), Jenna (29), Ryan (24) and Kyle (18). We also have four grandchildren. Kayla has two boys – Samuel (eight) and Harvey (two). Ryan has two girls – Brayleigh (four) and Audrey (almost three).

We are fortunate to have all our children living near the farm. Jenna just got back after spending several years teaching English in Guatemala and for now is teaching online from home. Kyle, a 2022 high school graduate, is currently home farming full-time. Kayla works for Nature’s International Certification Services and her husband Travis, for Seehafer Refrigeration as a dairy equipment service specialist with an emphasis on Lely robotic milking systems. Ryan is a tractor technician at Hillsboro Equipment and spent some time with the National Guard. He lives nearby with his daughters and fiancée, Kalin, who is our main night milker and assistant calf manager, and all-around huge farm help.

All our children and now our grandchildren have participated in the Elroy and Monroe County Fairs. Lawn View Farm served as the Monroe County Dairy Breakfast host farm in 1989 and 2009. We are also involved with 4-H, Farm Bureau, Brookwood FFA Alumni and the Elroy Fair Board.

Growing up, I was very active in FFA, 4-H and showing Jersey cattle. I was a Wisconsin FFA officer in 1981 and in 1982 became state FFA president. Being state FFA president gave me the unique opportunity to travel. I lived on a dairy farm in Japan for three months as an exchange student where I was fortunate to be exposed to many unique learning experiences. This experience abroad helped ignite my love for traveling. Our family traveled to Japan in 2009 and 2012, and I hope to return soon to visit my host family. I also took part in a six week agriculture exchange program to Kenya and traveled to Brazil as a member of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Group IV.

Starting in 1994, I became the Technology Education (shop) teacher at Brookwood High School and just retired in the spring of 2022 after 28 years. I learned that teaching and farming aren’t all that different – both require patience and drive.

I experienced the best of both worlds teaching and farming. Teaching was great for me because I enjoyed working with others and providing students with useful, life-long skills. It also allowed me to continue traveling as coordinator of Brookwood’s international travel program. I have visited over 20 countries to date. And with farming, I was able to carry on what my family started over 150 years ago while spending quality time with those I love most. I’m grateful to have been able to do both.

The Menn Farm has changed a bit over the years. We renovated our milking parlor in 1994 and are still using the same parlor that was put in over 50 years ago. In 1999, we added a free stall barn to increase our herd size and a cover-all building to house heifers in 2008.

We were Westby Cooperative Creamery farmers for several years beginning in 1997 before our transition to organic production which was finalized in January of 2009. Westby Creamery wasn’t in the organic dairy business at that time. Supply management restrictions with our former co-op and an increase in our cow numbers recently brought us back to the Creamery.

Dairy farming is not like most jobs where you work an eight-hour shift and then forget about it until the next day. Farming is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year of ups and downs, good weather and bad, joys and sorrows. But as generations of Menn have shown, it’s well worth it.

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