At Larson Acres, dairy farming is about producing high-quality milk. But it’s also much more than that. It is about doing what’s right for the families in community, animals and the environment, writes M. Matt, Chief Editor of Livestock & Poultry Middle East magazine after visiting Larson Acres Inc where six Larson families spanning five generations combine their interests, efforts, and enthusiasm for farming to operate the dairy business in the Town of Magnolia, State of Wisconsin, USA.
Over 90 years after Ed and Johanna Larson began farming in Magnolia Township, Don and Virginia carried on the tradition and bought the home farm in 1957. Today, six Larson families are involved with the operation that has grown from humble beginnings to a dairy that milks 2,800 cows and farms more than 5,000 acres while supporting the local area and its environment.
Giving Back to Our Community
From our family to yours, Larson Acres, Inc. is proud to provide our community and country with a safe and nutritious product – milk. Together, 11 family members and 55 employees work to ship approximately 25,000 gallons of milk per day, 365 days a year.
“Our employees are the heart of our operation and are like part of our own family. Like a thread in the quilt of the community, our business depends on other businesses in the area to provide us with services and supplies including veterinary care, local co-ops, milk hauling, electrical service, plumbing and equipment repair, to name just a few”, explains Sandy Larson, owner of Larson Acres.
“We support our schools, churches and other area organizations through education, donations and service projects. In addition, we enjoy hosting tours of our family farm for neighbors, groups, day care children, students, other producers and international visitors:.
Protecting the Environment
“With our advanced technologies, methods and systems, we protect the environment for our families, our community and future generations. We maintain our community’s exceptional environmental standards by employing many different methods, which include, Energy Preservation, Water Protection and Conservation, Land and Nutrient Management and Waste Management “.
“For example, in-floor heat is used to heat our parlors, offices, break rooms and shop, reducing the total amount of propane we use. Sand bedding is used for our cows, then washed and reused, to conserve this natural resource and save diesel fuel and emissions that would otherwise come from hauling loads of sand to our dairy every week”.
“The water used at our dairy is recycled several times. Water is first used to cool the milk as it is produced, and then is collected and used either as wash water or water for the cows to drink”.
“At Larson Acres, our manure storage structures are carefully engineered to protect ground and surface waters, and we inspect them regularly. The results of the inspections are reported to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources annually”.
“Working with a nutrient management planner and performing scheduled soil tests allows the appropriate nutrients to be applied to the Larson Acres fields that can utilize them. This reduces the risk of runoff and cuts down on the use of petroleum based fertilizer”.
“Waste and recycle containers are located around the dairy for the collection and disposal of waste and recyclable materials. We use teat scrubbers to effectively and reliably wash, disinfect, and dry the dairy cow’s teats prior to milking, which eliminates the need for paper or cloth towels”, she continues.
“Respecting Our Animals
We know that nutritious diets, comfortable living conditions and proper medical care are all part of ensuring a healthy, happy herd. Healthy, happy cows produce the high-quality products your family enjoys”.
“The herd is fed a customized, mixed ration, formulated with help from a nutritionist to meet their specific needs. All feed for the herd is home grown, with the exception of select ingredients delivered weekly by the local co-op”.
“Our animals spend their time in areas where their comfort and ease of handling are top priorities. The entire adult herd is housed in free stall barns, which are equipped with cooling components, optimal air flow, time-controlled sprinklers, cross ventilation, and a protected environment. We have dedicated areas where our staff veterinarian and herdsmen attend to the individual needs of our cows. These areas include maternity, postpartum and hoof care. Our on-site veterinarian collaborates with local veterinarians to ensure continuous cow health”.
Larson Acres Facilities
“Our facilities enhance cow comfort, protect the environment, and allow our family farm business to be sustainable well into the future. These facilities include Cross ventilated and conventional free stall barns, Double-20 and Double-22 BouMatic milking parlors, Five nursery barns, Calf barn for 2- to 5-month-old calves, Special needs areas, Transition and dry cow area, Computerized I.D. monitoring system, McLanahan sand separators, and 7 feed bunkers and a feed storage pad.
“Our family farm is a signal of our passion and commitment to the future of agriculture in Wisconsin. Adopting modern technology and advanced herd management practices not only protects our family’s heritage — it sustains opportunities for the next generations”, she adds.