The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm was originally purchased in 1899 by our founder, W.D. Hoard, and has served as a key component of the magazine, which was first published in 1885. One main purpose for operating the farm is to keep all employees of the magazine, especially the editors, keenly aware of the on-farm aspects of the industry we cover in our 15 issues a year and through our other media outlets. As far as we know, we are the only agricultural publication in the world that is fully engaged in the business it covers.
From the original 100 acres located on the north edge of Fort Atkinson, the farm has grown to more than 900 acres of owned and rented cropland. Last year, we planted 562 acres of corn for silage and grain, 81 acres of soybeans, 205 acres of alfalfa, and 59 acres of wheat. Custom operators are hired for planting and harvesting.
Our herd includes registerted Guernseys and a few Jerseys. We house a portion of our milking herd in a two-row, naturally ventilated freestall barn that was built in 2007. We milk these cows in a double-10 herringbone parlor that was also constructed in 2007.
In 2019, we built a second freestall barn. This facility features four voluntary milking systems, and this is where the majority of the herd is milked.
The herd averages 66 pounds of milk per day. Our milk averages about 4.9% fat and 3.5% protein. We ship the milk to Torkelson’s Cheese Company in Lena, Ill., where it is made into Muenster and other cheeses. We are members of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative.
In 2018, some of the milk from our Guernsey cows was made into our own cheese, “Belaire.” This Port Salut-style cheese is similar to Muenster. Since then, we have added new varieties. To learn more, visit www.hoardscreamery.com
The Hoard’s Dairyman Farm earned the American Guernsey Association’s (AGA) Top Commer- cial Herd award in 2020. This award is based on energy corrected milk (ECM) for herds with 50 lactations or more. In 2020, the Hoard’s Dairyman Guernseys averaged 25,032 pounds of ECM over 164 lactations. Across all Guernsey herds, our cows ranked fifth in the nation for milk production, fifth for fat production, and second for protein.
Each year, many visitors stop by to see the iconic Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. No self-guided tours are available, but we are happy to offer guided tours that are prescheduled. For more information about a farm tour, please call (920) 563-5551 or visit our farm tours webpage.