Down on the farm school


Jon Anhalt (top) told the students about some of the large machinery that is used to plant and harvest the crops on Hanke Farms. 
Review story andphotos byVerla Peichl Jon Anhalt (top) told the students about some of the large machinery that is used to plant and harvest the crops on Hanke Farms. Review story andphotos byVerla Peichl Don’t give me no pop! Don’t give me no tea! Just give me some milk! Moo.Moo.Moo. Some good Wisconsin milk!”

That little ditty was the first thing on the agenda this year for the elementary students that attended Classroom on the Farm, held recently at Hanke Farms in Sheboygan Falls.

Jim and Jack Hanke are the third generation to own and operate Hanke Farms.

Along with their wives Bonnie and Dorene, Jim and Jack have been continuing the heritage that was started by their grandfather in the 1920s.

Each year this energetic group that has a love for the land and the animals proudly open their farming business to area students to help them learn where their dairy products come from.

The Sheboygan County Farm Bureau has been sponsoring and coordinating this event for the past seven years and it’s always a fun learning day for not only the students, but the teachers and chaperones as well.

Classroom on the Farm consists of nine stations located throughout the farm. Each station touches on a different aspect of farming.

The stations are “manned” by either a family member or an agribusiness farm partner, with each session about 10 minutes in length.


Milking Addie the Cow (abov e) is always a fun experience for everyone. Addie is a simulator that allows students to know what it was like when their grandparents had to milk the cows by hand. Milking Addie the Cow (abov e) is always a fun experience for everyone. Addie is a simulator that allows students to know what it was like when their grandparents had to milk the cows by hand. Station 1 was the milking parlor with speaker Eileen Perronne. Who told the story of milk and how the operation works inside the parlor.

She stressed the fact that it’s important to the Hanke family to produce the highest quality of milk possible, which is done by raising healthy animals.

At Station 2, the cow doctor, Veterinarian Jeff Bleck, told the students about the instruments and utensils that are used to prevent the animals from getting sick and if they do get sick, to help them get well again.

“Veterinarians help to oversee the general well-being and welfare of farm animals,” said Bleck. “Veterinarians work with farmers and animals to set standards for how farm animals should be cared for based on research, data and expert analysis.”

At Station 3, “A cow needs to eat and they actually do eat people food sometimes,” said Brian Walsh.

Walsh explained what goes into a cows food ration and that cows eat about 90 pounds of feed and drink about a bath tub of water, which is 25-30 gallons, each day so they can give milk every day.

In Station 4, the role of farm machinery was told by Jon Anhalt, who stressed the importance of providing good maintenance to the equipment so it stays in good working order.

“Do you see that blue tractor over there?” asked Anhalt. “In the early 1970s, when Jim and Jack first bought the farm, they paid about $7,000 for that tractor. How much do you think this new green tractor cost today?”

Hands went up with numbers as high as one million dollars and a little below.

“This tractor cost approximately $300,000,” said Anhalt.

A resounding, “Wow!” was heard from the group.


Veterinarian Jeff Bleck (left) explained to the elementary students some of the different items needed to not only treat sick cows and calves but to keep them healthy. Veterinarian Jeff Bleck (left) explained to the elementary students some of the different items needed to not only treat sick cows and calves but to keep them healthy. “Where do they get all that money from?” asked one young man.

“It’s because the Hanke’s take good care of their cows that they have money enough to buy machinery like this,” said Anhalt.

Sy Station 5. A day in the life of a Cow was told by Liz Gartman.

She informed the students about the importance of a free stall barn in which cows are able to move around, eat, drink and sleep without being tied up.

The only time the cows are in the barn and tied are while they are being milked in the parlor.

Gartman talked about the anatomy of the cow and the importance of keeping them clean, warm in the winter and cool in the hot summer. She stressed the fact that all farmers take very good care of their cows.

At Station 6, the care of baby calves was told by Michelle Klemme.


One of the students (below) helped Brian Walsh with the ration mixing and then fed it to an eager cow. One of the students (below) helped Brian Walsh with the ration mixing and then fed it to an eager cow. She spoke about how baby calves are in need of a great deal at birth and the features in a calf barn that helps them stay healthy.

She told the students that raising healthy calves helped the Hanke’s to have healthy cows.

The farmer’s goal was told by Jack Hanke at Station 7.

He told the students about the history of Hanke Farms and what a typical day consists of for a farmer.

“Farming is not just my job, it’s my passion.” said Jack Hanke, “I appreciate that I get to work every day with animals and with the land. I’m proud to produce the food my family and friends eat and to know that it is healthy and safe.”

Nutrition for people was presented by Mary Andre from the Wisconsin Dairy Council at Station 8.

Andre spoke about growing a healthy Wisconsin and talked not only about the dairy industry ,but other products that are grown in Wisconsin.

While the state is known for cheese, it’s also a top producer for cranberries, honey and beef.

Milking a cow is always a favorite for students. At Station 9, they got to do just that.

Marlene Kammann stood by and watched the kids take turns milking Addie the Cow.

Addie is a special cow. She looks like a real cow and sometimes if you listen very closely you can hear her soft “Moo”.

Kammann tells the students that cows can give approximately 6-9 gallons of milk per day and it takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese.

“There are 600 different kinds of cheese made in Wisconsin,” said Kammann. “That makes our state number one in cheese production in the entire United States.”

When the students get back onto their bus, it’s quite obvious that they have enjoyed the tour and have had a wonderful time learning.

“We love to have the children visit and become a little more aware of where their food is coming from,” said Jack Hanke. “Our family is proud to share our farming heritage. while providing the students with a fresh perspective on the latest technology and how that is helping us produce the highest quality dairy product possible, milk.


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