We are farm with family roots. My husband Thomas John (TJ) and I farm with our partners John and Luann Shea in the southwest corner of America’s Dairyland- Platteville, WI. Our livelihood, Banner Ridge Farms became a reality about two years ago; previously, TJ worked for John and Luann nine years before becoming a partner. 260 Holsteins travel through our double-12 parallel parlor three times/day. All of our feedstuffs are grown on the farm and include corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat on 800 owned and rented acres. To prevent erosion and increase soil health, we utilize rye, oats, tillage radishes, and wheat as cover crops.
How We’re Smart Farming Today
We are very progressive and pro-active in using the latest technologies to continually keep improving. As a “smart farm” we’ve incorporated GPS technology on our planting equipment to reduce seeding overlap and fertilizer application. On the animal health side, we utilize apps on our tablet and smart phones giving us easy and rapid access to cow information. Diets are formulated for optimal health and production using ration balancing software in addition to local forage labs and a team of well-trained professionals. Water is recycled everyday by chilling the milk after it leaves the cow and then redirecting it to water troughs for drinking.
How I’ve Told My Story
My friends tell me I am a walking billboard for agriculture. I’ve done a variety of events to tell my agriculture story. Besides social media, I utilize other communication outlets such as radio. A good working relationship with two local radio personalities has enabled me to do numerous spotlights highlighting Wisconsin’s diverse agriculture industry and how food in America is safe. While working at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, I gave over 100 farm tours to families and groups of all ages, and I also worked with a local technical college through a grant to develop and teach a two-day class geared for people working with farmers who didn’t come from an agriculture background. Sincerity and honesty are often lost in today’s society and transparency needs to shine through from farmers and ranchers to create healthy dialogue with the public.
United States Department of Agriculture: Farm Service Agency, Lafayette County Farm Bureau, Darlington FFA Alumni, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, American Farm Bureau Federation