Farm fresh

Jensema family set to host Breakfast on the Farm June 21
by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent


The Jensema family - (left to right) Martha; Roger; Jesse, 11; Brenda; Jeremie; Jamie, 13; and stepson, Matt TenHaken - is hosting the 2014 Breakfast on the Farm. Here they are standing in the free stall barn on their farm at W2492 County V, Sheboygan Falls. — Review photo by Verla Peichl The Jensema family - (left to right) Martha; Roger; Jesse, 11; Brenda; Jeremie; Jamie, 13; and stepson, Matt TenHaken - is hosting the 2014 Breakfast on the Farm. Here they are standing in the free stall barn on their farm at W2492 County V, Sheboygan Falls. — Review photo by Verla Peichl Breakfast on the Farm!

June is Dairy Month!

These two phrases are synonymous in Sheboygan County. So grab a glass of milk and hear the rest of the story.

Saturday, June 21. Mark your calendar and make plans to visit Jensema Farms at W2492 County V, Sheboygan Falls. That’s on the corner of State 32 and County V and it will be a morning to remember.

The Jensema family will be ready and eager to answer your questions and guide you through the farm, learn all the happenings on an average day and a typical farmer’s breakfast will be ready for you to enjoy and help energize your interest to the life of a farmer.

Jensema Farms are owned and operated by the entire Jensema family. That includes Roger, Jeremie, Brenda, Jesse, Jamie, Martha and Matt TenHaken. A family farm would not be a success if it weren’t for the sharing of duties and the understanding that each duty is an important part to make the business run smoothly.

Jesse, 11, and Jamie, 13, are in charge of calf feeding and tending to their daily needs. The calf barn is a neat and clean pole shed with all the necessities needed for the two partners to carry out their chores. They feed them twice a day and that keeps them busy, but gives them a sense of self-satisfaction and instills responsibility and discipline which will be very useful and important in their later years. Brenda also helps with the calves when the kids get in a bind due to schoolwork.

Jeremie takes care of the feeding of the large animals. He is also responsible for doing a lot of the field work which means cultivating, planting and harvesting. He will oversee the milking of the cows in their double 8 milking parlor which means they can milk 16 cows at one time.

Jensema Farms has two fulltime milkers who have been with them for seven years and one fulltime worker who helps with the feeding and the field work. There are five part time helpers.

Martha takes care of the lawn, the flowers and the office. This may not sound like much, but when you see the extensive yard and how it is meticulously kept you will understand her expertise is very important.

Roger fills in wherever. He does however have some words to share regarding a family business and working together so closely every day.

“The key to making this all work is to compromise with each other,” said Roger. “If you don’t get along, this won’t work.

“The business will eventually pass on to the children but the knowledge of the elders needs to be passed down as well,” Roger continued. “You can’t take someone from the city and make it work. They need to learn while doing and pass on what you know and what works the best.

“Teach them things about agriculture,” said Roger. “The whole purpose of Breakfast on the Farm is so people can learn about agriculture. Sometimes they hear bad stuff and they never hear about the good stuff that happens on a farm.”

Jensema Farms is located just north of Gibbsville and has been in the Jensema family since 1946, when Roger’s father, Edward Jensema, started farming on the current site with 87 acres and 17 cows. In the post-World War II era this was an average-sized family sustaining farm. By 1957, Edward had added to the barn and was milking 38 cows.

Roger Jensema took over farming from his father in 1968. He purchased the farm in 1970, adding to the stanchion barn to house 70 cows; he also built two new stave silos. By the 1980s, Roger expanded his dairy operation by adding a free-stall barn, three new Harvestore silos, a Slurry Store for manure storage, and increased his cow herd to 150.

In 1996, Roger’s son Jeremie graduated from Fox Valley Technical College and joined the farm fulltime. Together father and son added a milking parlor, a free-stall barn, and another stave silo. They increased their dairy herd to 200 cows.

In 2006, Jensema Farms completed a major farm expansion by adding calf and heifer barn facilities, two more Harvestore silos, another Slurry Store, and increased their herd to 250 cows.

Currently, Jensema Farms plants 850 acres – 430 in corn, 320 in hay, and 100 in soybeans. The farm now has 330 cows and 370 head of young stock.

“We are hosting Breakfast on the Farm to give the public a morning to have a learning experience on the farm just as the average person of a seven generations removed from the farm does,” said Jeremie.

“We have been asked in the past and because all of the nieces and nephews and grandkids are now at a better age to help with the tasks this will be something to remember,” said Roger.

“We hope the visitors will see and realize how much work is involved in seven days a week to produce a quality, safe food produce and that it is where their food starts,” said Jeremie, “not at the grocery store.”

“The family farm is where everybody is kicking in to help,” said Roger. “That’s what keeps it all going to make it worthwhile.”

Breakfast on the Farm is Saturday, June 21 from 7 a.m. to 12 noon, rain or shine. There will be a special appearance by Alice in Dairyland and special features include; Traditional Dairy Farm Breakfast, Badgerland Barnyard Blast Ice Cream, Sartori Cheese Tasting, Machinery Display, Children’s Barnyard Farm Tours, “Addie” the Cow, Moo Mania Ventriloquist and Pedal Tractor Pull Contest, with weigh-in at 9:30 a.m. Competition begins at 10 a.m.

The first 300 kids 10 and under will receive a free t-shirt with donation of a non-perishable food item. Parking will be available at the farm.

Advance tickets are available at: Marshalls Convenience Stores, alllocations;AdellCo-op;Kettle Lakes Co-op, Random Lake and Sheboygan Falls; and Piggly Wiggly in Howards Grove, Oostburg, Plymouth, Sheboygan Falls and North Side Sheboygan, for $7 adult advance, $8 day of event, $3 kids (3-6 years old). Chidren age 2 and under are free.

For more information call (920) 459-5902 or visit www.sheboygancountydairypromotion.com.


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