Statz Family Farm

Waunakee, Wisconsin
March 28, 2024
Statz Family

(L-R) Brandon, Neil, Kevin, Cyril, Craig and Hannah Statz.

The Statz Family Farm located outside Waunakee, Wisc. in Dane County has been a dairy farm for three generations dating back to 1885. It covers more than 1,200 acres across four locations. Despite being near two major thoroughfares, the farm sits along a winding country road with plenty of barns, silos, and wide-open skies.

The third generation of three brothers – Craig, Kevin and Neil – work alongside their dad to milk the 325 Holstein cows in a double twelve parlor with free stalls twice daily. The Statz Farm harvests 400 acres of cash crops and raises 600 head of steers for commercial beef. “No two days are the same.” That’s why Kevin enjoys being a farmer. “I like the daily milking and look forward to the fall harvest every year,” said Kevin.

The fourth Statz generation is moving up the ranks and is eager to carry on the dairy tradition. Everyone involved on the farm starts out milking to build experience and moves on to different operations. Craig noted he’s excited to see what will carry forward and be built upon. “We see there’s a future in farming and continue to improve and become stewards of our land and animals. It’s exciting to see what [the next generation] will be able to expand and do.”

Across generations, a Statz farmer has continuously improved operations to become more efficient. Updating from traditional stanchion milking to a modern parlor setup with free stalls over 15 years ago has boosted productivity while notably easing physical labor along the way. The updated system enhances cow comfort with sand beds and better airflow. Moreover, adopting digital herd health records enables more efficient care and tracking. When purchasing feed beyond what they produce, the farm opts for bulk instead of individual bags. Other practices include no till farming and increasing the use of cover crops (where applicable) to safeguard the local Yahara River Watershed.

The Statz family actively promotes education and learning opportunities on their farm for people of all ages. For the past 30 years, they’ve managed an apprenticeship program in collaboration with Waunakee High School FFA . Any student interested in farming or pursuing a career in agriculture can gain real-world experience and academic credit.

Students get to work on a real dairy farm, providing them with invaluable real-world experience before they leave high school. Kevin highlighted they have had students pursue various careers stemming from this experience, including cheesemaking, dairy science and forestry.

The farm also hosts site tours for elementary schools and daycare kids. These on-the-farm programs help highlight agriculture to a new generation who might never be exposed otherwise. But the education doesn’t stop there; the brothers have literally invited curious passersby who have stopped to admire their cattle along the road to an impromptu farm tour so they can connect with people. Craig emphasized that “education is a big part of what we do; not many people get the opportunity.”

The Statz family noted they like being part of Foremost Farms because they contribute to something bigger, and they like having Foremost Farms field representative Beth Yanke available when they need access to industry information and updates. “It’s good to know where our milk is going,” said Craig. “We can educate others about the commercial channels and products we are a part of.”

For the Statz family, farming is a way of life, and they are happy to share that slice with anyone.