Passion for dairy brings breakfast back to the farm
If you go
What: Walworth County Dairy Breakfast
When: 6-10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 11.
Where: N2150 Six Corners Road, Walworth. Note the breakfast is on the farm this summer and not at the Walworth County Fairgrounds.
Cost: $5 in advance. $6 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free.
What’s on the menu: Deluxe scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, cheese, ice cream and drinks.
For more information: Call (262) 723-2613
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WALWORTH TOWNSHIP It's no small feat to move a meal for 3,000 people from a well-known location with parking lots and picnic pavilions to an out-of-the-the way place without such amenities.
Not to mention that the people who run the out-of-the-way place already have their hands full feeding 400 cows.
Tom Kauer's willingness to undertake such a project should be an indication of how important he thinks it is for people to visit a working farm.
"I want to use the word 'passion'," Kauer said. "It's long hours. There are a lot of unknowns. Dairying is a passion. You do it for the love of what you do."
The dairy breakfast for years has been held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn. Kauer said the move back to the farm was, in part, a way to combat negative messages consumers might be getting through television and other media.
"What we see on the TV is not what we get," Kauer said. "What you're going to see on my farm is real. It's a working dairy farm."
Kauer and his wife, Roxanne, will host the breakfast along with their sons, Brad, 31, and Dan, 25. Both men work full time on the farm. Longtime employee Chris Stern also works full time, and Kauer's daughter Cathy, 27, helps when she can, he said.
Kauer knows he can't change everyone's opinion in one day. But he wants to plant the seeds of two messages in the minds of those who visit the farm Kauer's grandfather started with 13 cows in 1934.
The first message: "We do a good job caring for our animals," Kauer said.
Cows on his farm-and on many farm in Wisconsin and the country-are well fed, clean and comfortable, he said.
The second message: He wants visitors to learn that Walworth County dairy farmers sell a safe product.
"There's nothing about our milk that's tainted," Kauer said. "It's not full of drugs or antibiotics. We sell a safe product."
In addition to having breakfast and playing games, visitors can take farm tours and learn a lot of agriculture basics such as the cost of equipment, how cows are cared for and the amount of feed and water the cows consume.
"Can they understand it in one day?" Kauer said. "No, but we can do our best to show our cows are clean, they're dry, they're comfortable. And we have a product here we are proud to sell. It's a good, safe product for the public."
“DAIRY” INTERESTING FACTS
2.20 billion—Amount of milk produced in Wisconsin in April. That’s down less than 1 percent from this time last year.
12,167—The number of dairy herds in Wisconsin as of May 1. The state has 92 fewer herds than last month and 603 fewer herds than May 2010.
1.266 million—The number of cows in Wisconsin. The state has 5,000 more cows than April 2010.
92—The number of dairy herds in Walworth County.
112—The number of dairy herds in Rock County.
969—The number of dairy herds in Clark County, the county with the most herds in the state. Clark County is between Eau Claire and Marshfield.
2,398—Gallons of milk produced each year by the average Wisconsin cow. That is an increase of 63 gallons over last year’s average.
Sources: The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and the U.S. Department of Agriculture