Location: Middleton, Wisconsin. We can see the Wisconsin state capitol in Madison from our farm.
My dairy’s history: Blue Star Dairy Farms was established in 1976 by my mother and father-in-law, who had been dairy farming for 30 years, incorporated with their five sons. Over time we’ve become a family partnership which now has three of the brothers and two nephews as partners.
Currently, the partnership oversees three dairy facilities, 2,500 cows with 2,500 youngstock, a cropping crew that runs 6,000 acres, 45 employees plus 11 more family members.
If I wasn’t a dairyperson, I would be ... involved with youth activities and events through 4-H programs.
I have been a member of Farm Credit for ... 29 years
I joined Farm Credit because ... It came with the package when I married my husband, Art. I knew about Farm Credit before that, because Farm Credit became part of my own parents’ dairy farming operation in 1974, and now two of my brothers and their families are part of their LLC.
A little-known fact about the beginnings of Farm Credit is ... Wisconsin started in the 1930s and 1940s with well over a dozen-plus small Farm Credit cooperative associations throughout the state. Today, there are still four separate farm credit associations in the state of Wisconsin. It’s one of the few states that still has multiple farm credit associations. It reflects the agricultural diversity of the state.
My favorite Farm Credit representative/employee is ... Bruce Thompson because he is a small-town boy that went on to do great things. He is a big promoter of Farm Credit – starting out as a loan officer, he climbed the ranks to become Badgerland Financial’s chief credit officer. He not only has the Farm Credit business in mind when making credit decisions, but the members and their best interests.
What Farm Credit does best is ... they understand the needs of agriculture lending and the special needs that farmers/producers have, i.e. operational loans, accounting, crop insurance, tax services, life products and hail insurance.
I feel valued as a member when ... as a cooperative member I get a vote in who represents me and my business.
An influential person whom I’ve met through Farm Credit is ... Diane Cole
She is helpful/influential because ... as the CEO of our Farm Credit, Badgerland Financial, she has a visionary “big picture” perspective of our organization and its role in agriculture looking out five, 10 and 20 years into the future. She’s able to grasp today’s challenges in the marketplace and still position the business for long-term success.
My worst struggle in dairying is/was ... dealing with milk price volatility; the highs and lows are too great for me.
I hope my dairy legacy is ... that I’ve made a positive impact for the dairy industry by hosting students to our farm and teaching them where their food comes from.
If I were running Farm Credit, I would ... continue on the path of education for our members. Be it one-on-one, focus groups or utilizing our industry partners. Our industry is constantly changing and if we can help our members make good decisions through education, we will all be better off helping ourselves become improved managers, thus being more profitable.
My advice to all dairy people is ... share your knowledge of dairying with the public in your area. Host a preschool field trip or a neighborhood picnic. We need to tell our stories. We have a great story to tell! PD
The Farm Credit System
Year established: 1916
Member organizations: Nearly 90 independent, cooperative lending institutions serving agriculture and rural America.
Farm Credit Mission: For 95 years Farm Credit has focused on a single mission – to provide sound and dependable credit and related services to agriculture and rural America. Farm Credit is one of the nation’s largest agricultural lenders with:
• Loans in excess of $175 billion
• Nearly 500,000 member-borrowers
• More than 12,000 employees
• Services in every county across all 50 states and Puerto Rico