Farmers Behind Your Food: Koepke Farms, Wisconsin
Koepke Farms Inc. is a family dairy farm in Waukesha County, Wis., where brothers Alan, David and Jim Koepke and Jim’s son John milk 320 cows and manage 1,000 acres of cropland and another 150 acres of woods and wetlands.
The dairy was one of the first in the area to adopt a completely no-till cultivation system, and it has also incorporated grassed waterways, contour strip cropping, diversified crop rotation, nutrient management, cover crops and barnyard runoff control into its management. All these conservation practices have helped improve soil health and kept soil erosion down.
Another measure the family took was to alter the herd’s feed rations in an effort to lower phosphorus levels in the manure without affecting milk production. As evidence that what they’re doing works, a Holstein cow named “Granny” from the Koepkes’ farm holds the world record for lifetime milk production. In recognition of their notable conservation efforts, they were named the 2011 Dairymen of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.
The Koepke family was recognized by the Sand County Foundation as the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award winners in Wisconsin.
**This story was originally published by the Sand County Foundation.