EagleHerald/Emma Kuhn
Willah Milbach (left), 9, pets a pair of lambs with her mother, Betsy Johnston, at Sunday’s Breakfast on the Farm at the Carlson Farm in Peshtigo. Willah has been to “at least five” Breakfasts on the Farm, and her favorite parts are visiting the cows and eating pancakes. 
EagleHerald/Emma Kuhn

Willah Milbach (left), 9, pets a pair of lambs with her mother, Betsy Johnston, at Sunday’s Breakfast on the Farm at the Carlson Farm in Peshtigo. Willah has been to “at least five” Breakfasts on the Farm, and her favorite parts are visiting the cows and eating pancakes. 

PESHTIGO — Thousands got up early on Sunday to take to the country fields of the Carlson Farm to celebrate June Dairy Month the old-fashioned way: With a huge breakfast full of dairy products, a tour around the operating dairy farm and plenty of activities for family members of all ages. 

The Carlson Farm’s history began in 1981, when now-owner Kevin Carlson began milking 13 cows on his father’s farm. A partnership between the two began in 1984, and the milking operation grew to 70 cows. Carlson and his wife, Katie, took over the farm’s management in 1994, and it eventually grew in size and efficiency over the years. The two manage and conduct all the operations of the farm with the help of Kevin’s father, Ron, Kevin’s son, Alan, and two part-time employees. Kevin and Katie’s daughter, Kimberly, and the families of Kevin’s two sons, Alan and Dan, help out when needed, and Ron and his wife, Joan, live on site. 

Today, the Carlson Farm houses about 340 cows in its milking herd, which primarily consists of Holsteins. Nearly 1,200 acres of land around the farm supplies the feed for the cattle, growing alfalfa, corn and soybeans. The farm makes its own corn silage and roasts its own soybeans. The farm recently added a 24-stall carousel milking parlor from GEA Farm Technologies in 2016 and an automated calf feeding area in 2017. 

The farm previously hosted dairy breakfasts in 1985 and 1986. 

Most of the money taken in through the breakfast’s entrance fee goes to planning and paying for the breakfasts, and any surplus funds go to local agricultural education programs, community group donations and promotion. One of the education programs, the Coleman FFA program, helps with volunteers for Breakfast on the Farm activities, such as the children’s game area. 

“This will probably be my third or fourth year,” said Emily Cudnohoski, a 17-year-old high school senior with Coleman FFA. Cudnohoski was assisting kids playing football and ring-tossing games. 

Politicians came out to show their support of local dairy farmers, too, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 89th Assembly District State Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), U.S. Senate candidates Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson all making appearances at the breakfast. 

“The best part about June is it’s an excuse to go and eat cheese curds and ice cream every weekend for breakfast,” Walker said. “All across the state, it’s a great way to get people who aren’t on the farm — living on the farm, working on the farm — out to the farm, and to not take for granted, whether it’s dairy or anything else, how their food gets on the table.” 

For more about June Dairy Month, visit hooraywisconsindairy.com.