The four farms participating in the network are:
- Augustian Farms LLC, operated by Aaron, Todd and Ginanne Augustian
- Brey Cycle Farm LLC, operated by Tony and Moriah Brey and family, and Jacob and Lauren Brey
- Deer Run Dairy LLC, operated by Duane and Derek Ducat and Dale Bogart
- Kinnard Farms, operated by Lee Kinnard and family
Each of these farms will play a significant role in testing, demonstrating, and sharing information about leading-edge practices and technologies applied on their farms including cover crops, low disturbance manure injection and reduced tillage as well as other innovative practices that help increase organic matter, improve soil health and reduce soil erosion.
Augustian Farms LLC Augustian Farms LLC is owned and operated by Todd and Aaron Augustian in Kewaunee County. Todd took ownership of the farm in 2001. In March of 2005, a devastating barn fire destroyed all facilities and the entire milking herd. With the help of a neighbor, he was able to rent a barn and start building the dairy herd once again. Aaron joined the operation in 2007, bringing 100 animals to the farm. In 2009, they built a new facility for 400 cows back at the original home farm. Today, the farm is home to 1,100 cows and some young stock; the majority of the young stock are raised off-site by custom growers.
Along with dedicated care to the animals, they also care deeply for the land that they own and lease. For the last several years, they have put about ten percent of their land into cover crops to help maintain soil loss. They have reshaped grassed waterways to meet today’s standards, and planted a portion of their land in native grasses for wildlife and bee habitat. They work continuously to improve practices on their farm.
Some of the practices the Augustian’s will be trying at on their demo farm fields include interseeding cover crops, applying manure to a growing crop, using management practices to handle leachate water, and seeding cover crops with manure application.
Brey Cycle Farm LLC
Brothers Tony and Jacob Brey are the fourth-generation farmers and owners of Brey Cycle Farm LLC, a dairy farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The farm has been in the Brey family since 1903. The two formally purchased the farm from their parents, Bill and Clarice Brey, in July 2016. Tony, 32, has been on the farm full-time since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the spring of 2007. Jacob, 26, worked as a classifier for Holstein Association USA for two years following his graduation from UW-Madison. He’s been on the farm full-time since the fall of 2015.
The farm has grown substantially over the last ten years. In 2007, it consisted of 100 milking cows and 600 acres. Today, Tony and Jacob share equally in the day-to-day management of the farm that includes 460 registered Holstein milking cows, 500 heifers and 1,200 acres. They raise corn, alfalfa, wheat, and sorghum, along with cover crops.
Jacob is married to Lauren, who is director of marketing and research for the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative. Tony is married to Moriah who is an assistant vice president of credit at GreenStone Farm Credit Services. Tony and Moriah have two children, Evan and Alexa. Both spouses have farming backgrounds and are involved in the family business in addition to their off-farm professions. The family is active in the community and strives to promote a positive image for agriculture.
The Brey’s are interested in testing cover crops and low-disturbance manure injection to improve soil health and reduce nutrient losses from their farm.
Deer Run Dairy LLC
Duane and Derek Ducat and Dale Bogart, operators of Deer Run Dairy LLC, built their dairy facility in 2008 and shortly after started milking 800 cows. They added a methane digester in 2011, which has allowed them to use their barn’s own separated manure solids for bedding and greatly reduce manure odors. They have increased the dairy to 1,600 cows and currently farm about 2,500 acres to feed their animals.
They have been farming in the area since 1983, and conservation practices have always been a priority on their operation. These practices are constantly evolving due to the changing farm landscape and improving equipment. They want to keep their soils as healthy as possible to have the best feed for cow health and performance.
Deer Run Dairy LLC will be testing low disturbance manure injection into a growing crop, cover cropping and a denitrifying bioreactor for tile lines.
Located in north central Kewaunee County, Kinnard Farms is a family-owned dairy and crop farm that takes great pride in caring for their land and cattle in a community that has been home to their family for six generations. Starting with 14 cows and 80 acres, the dairy is located on land that was originally purchased by Alvin & Mildred Kinnard in 1948. Today, the farm is owned and operated by Alvin & Mildred’s children, Rod and his wife Maureen, and Lee and has grown to its present size of 6,500 cows, which are milked in a new state-of-the-art 100 cow rotary parlor, as well as 11,000 acres used for growing feed and recycling nutrients.
The Kinnard’s base all of their farming practices on science, and adhere to a concept they refer to as “smart sustainability” to guide them as they plan for the future. This concept is one of innovation, constant education, and continuous improvement. It is evident in many of the family’s farming practices, from a first-of-its-kind bedding sand recycling and drying system, to the extensive use of cover cropping and high-tech soil mapping machinery.
Lee shares his passion for sustainable farming methods with other area farmers by serving as vice president of Peninsula Pride Farms, a one-year-old farmer-led watershed group in Kewaunee and Southern Door counties. Lee is also a board member of the Dairy Business Association, where he serves as chair of the Industry Relations Committee.
The Kinnard’s will be trying different types of manure applicators, planting into green crops in spring, and planting cover crops.