Farmer Focus

The Clark Family

Hometown: Eldorado, Wisconsin

Travis and Janet Clark co-own Vision Aire Farms, LLC, in Eldorado, Wisconsin. They are members of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative and the 2016 NMPF Young Cooperator Advisory Council. The farm is also owned and operated by Roger and Sandy Grade, and David Grade. It consists of 155 registered Holsteins and operates 900 acres of land.

What do you like the most – and the least – about working as a dairy farmer?

What we like most about being dairy farmers is working with the cows and maximizing their potential through the management of forages, genetics, cow comfort and daily supervision of their health. We also enjoy watching our children’s love of animals grow. They create bonds with their favorites and truly enjoy working with their family.

What we like least is that the management of the dairy can sometimes consume our family time. Days become long and the list of problems never end. We focus on the daily health of our animals. It can be frustrating when you do everything in your power for a sick animal and it still does not help or save her.

Describe how the work on the farm is shared or divided up in your family?

Daily responsibilities are distributed among the family members. Roger and Sandy guide the next generation, especially when large decisions need to be made. Travis manages the dairy herd, Janet manages calves and recordkeeping, and David is responsible for crops and machinery.

How do you think your farm’s business plan will change 10 years from now?

Our goal is to implement technology available in the dairy industry. We are always looking for ways to improve the health of our animals and efficiency with manual labor. We would also like to add a value-added product to our farm that would enrich our outreach within the community.

During those days when things aren’t going well, what do you do to keep a positive attitude?

I remind myself that I could always be stuck in a cubical and micromanaged by someone I don’t like. But honestly, we all have days that don’t go well. I believe that having a strong marriage and faith keeps us moving forward. Everyone needs a partner who can understand their frustrations and help them look past it toward the positive. When we think things can’t get worse, something great happens: a birth, sick cow recovers or your child’s amusing recount of the day.

What would you be doing if you were not a dairy farmer?

Travis would love to be a professional fly fishermen – we can all dream! In reality, he would be doing something in the agriculture industry. I hope that the day never comes when I am no longer a dairy farmer. I have found my passion and I am living it!

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