Westby Creamery News

Farmers Gather for 120th Annual Meeting

Farmers Gather for 120th Annual Meeting
Daniel and Lisa Chapin of Readstown, Wis. were recognized as the Highest Quality Milk Producer at the Westby Cooperative Creamery Annual Meeting.
Apr 11, 2024 (Westby, WI)

The 120th annual meeting of Westby Cooperative Creamery was held on April 4. The Creamery’s farmer-owners enjoyed lunch, heard from the general manager on how 2023 went and celebrated the quality award recipients – namely, Daniel and Lisa Chapin of Readstown, Wis.

Additionally, this meeting allows farmer-owners to vote on their Board of Directors. This year, the Creamery welcomed a new member, Ashley Olson of Coon Valley, Wis.

Ben Klinkner, Jon Levendoski, Andy Olson, Gerald Vesbach, Seth Byom and Jerad Fleming all retained seats on the board.

A panoramic image of farmers gathering for a meal.

The Westby Cooperative Creamery Annual Meeting is a well-attended event where the co-op’s farmer-owners gather to hear business updates and more.


Ashley Olson – new member

Olson grew up on her family’s dairy farm much like the three generations before her. She milks about 50 cows with her husband, Jeff, and son, Jed, in Coon Valley, Wis. In addition to farming she has previously worked in dairy nutrition, USDA/FSA , DATCP and she is a former UW-Extension Vernon County Agriculture Educator. “I want to see the Creamery be productive and profitable for many years to come, as I hope that someday our son can continue milking on our farm if he so chooses,” Olson said, adding, “With my past and current experiences, I feel that I can have a strong and positive impact on decisions made by the Creamery Board. I have passion, care and concern for the dairy industry and our milk plant.”

Seth Byom – continued term

Byom has been farming his whole life, and a few years ago he decided to take over his uncle Dan’s farm just up the hill from his father’s farm in Galesville, Wis. Byom said he always enjoyed his time spent helping on the farm growing up, so he knew he wanted to keep the legacy going. Byom Organic Farms has been a part of Westby Cooperative Creamery since 2008 when Westby first began its organic product line. However, the farm has been in the family for roughly 129 years.

Jon Levendoski – continued term

Levendoski is a fifth-generation farmer on a 50-cow dairy farm that he co-operates with his parents near Genoa, Wis. His wife, Jackie, teaches third grade at Blessed Sacrament School in La Crosse, Wis., and they have three kids who love helping on the farm. Their family’s owned the farm since 1876 and has shipped milk to Westby Cooperative Creamery since 1969. “As a farmer, it’s important to maintain a sustainable environment and produce quality milk,” Levendoski said. “As such, we rotationally graze our cattle as much as possible.” In 2005, they began crossbreeding cows to try and create animals that would be healthier, produce higher components and better utilize pasture.

Jerad Fleming – continued term
Fleming farms with his family near Westby, Wis. His wife Stacey teaches preschool in Westby, and they have four children, Hallie, Jackson, Bennett and Brielle. Their family milks 100 organic cows, farms around 600 acres, and they enjoy hunting, fishing and UTV rides in their spare time. He’s also an assistant football coach at Westby High School and serves on an advisory board for Compeer Financial. Fleming said he really enjoys his time on the board and loves hearing everyone’s perspectives on agriculture and how best to deal with its challenges.

Gerald Vesbach – continued term
Vesbach is a 4th generation farmer that runs a dairy farm with his son, Trent, and wife, Connie, in Liberty Pole, Wis. They milk 70 cows, Jerseys and Brown Swiss, farm 650 acres and run an 80-head beef herd. Three of their farms are certified organic, though their milk is conventional. Vesbach loves being outdoors, around cattle and being in agriculture. In his free time, he likes antique tractors, especially Minneapolis Moline and Olivers, and going to antique shows. “I thought I could bring some new ideas to the Board of Directors and share the knowledge I’ve accumulated over my 45 years of farming while promoting Westby Creamery,” Vesbach said.

Andy Olson – continued term
Olson owns and operates Prime Pastures Organic Dairy near Lewiston, Minn., along with his wife, Kim, and her parents, Dale and Carmene Pangrac. They have three children – Mallory, Gavin and Amelia. They use robotic technology to milk 150 crossbred cows, and they rotationally graze all their animals from two-months old through milking age. They also raise organic crops on 900 acres and feed it to their herd and sell it as organic grain. “I am proud to be serving on the Board of Directors, and I look forward to the continued growth of Westby Cooperative Creamery and supporting our farmers,” Olson said.

Ben Klinkner – continued term
Klinkner is a sixth-generation farmer on his family’s organic dairy farm outside Cashton, Wis. He and his wife, Erin, have four children, Jack, Anna, Noah and Abe. Their dairy herd consists of 60 milk cows and 60 heifers and calves. They also farm about 300 acres of hay, corn and pasture. He is honored to have served as a Westby Creamery director since 2018. “I’ve enjoyed working with loyal and passionate small farm patrons and the many dedicated and hardworking creamery management staff and employees,” Klinkner said. “It’s very rewarding to see first-hand the success that each moving part contributes to producing high-quality, award-winning dairy products.”

Support small family farms by purchasing Westby Cooperative Creamery dairy products often. To find a store near you, visit our Store Locator and enter your zip code.


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