The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection recently announced Achievement Awards to dairy producers who have maintained outstanding milk quality and commendable farm conditions for more than three consecutive years.
Twenty-five Westby Cooperative Creamery dairy farms were recognized, including: David Brueggen, Diane Brueggen; Gerald Vesbach; Glenn Knutson, Patricia Knutson; Daniel Chapin, Lisa Chapin; Glenn Jacobson; Harmony Hills Dairy Partnership; Douglas and Tammy Berger Partnership; Steven Meyer, Linda Meyer; Dale Melcher; Lyndon Lichty, Cynthia Lichty; Brian McClurg, Linda McClurg; Steven Nuttleman, Debbie Nuttleman; Justin Wolfe, Jennifer Wolfe; Dennis Hemmersbach, Julie Hemmersbach; Gerald Klinkner, Ann Klinkner; Seibel’s Organic Dairy Partnership; Paul Klinkner, Geralyn Klinkner; J&D Hemmersbach Trust; Meadow Creek Pastures LLC; Timothy Byom; Israel Swarey, Fannie Swarey; James Vangsness, Vivki Vangsness; Klinkner Dairy LLC; Darren Eichelkraut; and Matthew Fendry.
“This is no easy feat,” said John Schedivy, Westby Creamery’s senior field representative. “As a result of their day-to-day diligence maintaining top-notch facilities, and reported milk quality results, many of our farms are inspected only once each year due to Wisconsin’s Performance Based Inspection Frequency program. The majority of Wisconsin’s farms are inspected at least every six months.”
Paul and Ben Klinkner of Cashton were included in the list of recipients. “Any farmer award received is humbling,” Ben Klinkner said. “We strive each day to do our best to be quality dairy farmers producing high quality milk that can be made into delicious dairy products.”
The achievement of Westby Cooperative Creamery dairy farmers extends beyond this award. Every 20 to 24 months, all Grade A processor producer groups are required to pass a federal inspection known as an Interstate Milk Shippers Survey. Passage allows finished products to continue crossing state lines uninterrupted. The farms are individually inspected and scored based on existing conditions found on inspection day. In late 2020, three of the Westby Cooperative Creamery’s producer groups (Bulk Transit Units) were surveyed, including a region in the West, a region in the Northeast and a region in Minnesota.
Receiving perfect scores of 100 were: Ben Sherry of Viroqua; Alvin Stutzman of Marion, Wis.; Seth and Erin Anderson of Ettrick, Wis.; Prime Pastures Organic Dairy (Andy & Kim Olson and Dale & Carmene Pangrac) of Lewiston, Minn.; and Art & Jean Thicke and Chad & Melissa Crowley of La Crescent, Minn.
“Westby Cooperative Creamery thanks these and all the member/producers for their daily efforts to ensure the conditions Westby’s milk supply is produced under meet the expectations of both state and federal requirements,” Schedivy said.