The 2022 Vernon County Dairy Breakfast will be held on Saturday, June 18, on the farm of Westby Cooperative Creamery (WCC) farmers Dan & Lisa Chapin. Dairying on Sugar Grove Road in rural Readstown since 2011, the Chapins produce milk that goes into WCC’s award-winning dairy products.
Westby Cooperative Creamery is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative and manufacturer of high-quality dairy products for over 115 years.
The Vernon County Dairy Breakfast will run from 7 to 11 a.m., with a program at 9 a.m. The farm is located at S8267 Espe Road, in rural Readstown. The event will feature the beloved ‘June Dairy Month’ event, the dairy breakfast, as well as live music by ‘Two of a Kind,’ kid’s activities, education booths, a Westby Cooperative Credit Union mobile branch, and the ‘Curd Mobile.’
Dairy Breakfast prices are $6 for adults, and $2 for kids 10-years-old and under, and $10 for a steak breakfast.
The road the farm is located on is very steep and narrow, so attendees are encouraged to park in the Readstown Park, and take a bus to the farm. Buses will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dan and Lisa are a hard-working, salt-of-earth, husband-and-wife dairy team. They dairy on 110 acres on their picturesque ridge, dotted with family farms and Amish craft shops. The two manage a herd of 90 Holstein dairy cows, and grow corn and hay on another 200 rented acres.
“I didn’t grow up dairying, but got into it after high school, working on a nearby farm in rural Viroqua,” Dan Chapin said. “I started out with some beef cattle, started milking on a farm out on County T, and then moved to my current farm and built my parlor and free stall in 2010. We started sending our milk to WCC in the fall of 2011.”
Dan Chapin said he and his wife, Lisa, met while they were working on the same farm in rural Viroqua. Both graduated from Viroqua High School, though Lisa started life in the Marshfield area, with six brothers, and her father drove truck and milked cows.
The two have raised three children who attended Kickapoo High School. Their first and second children, Ryan and Steven both work in construction, and their youngest, Betty, is married to Ben Hoff. Betty works as a vet tech in the Platteville area. Steven is partnered with Candice, and Ryan with Shannon.
“None of the kids look like they are going to follow us into dairy,” Dan Chapin said. “We just keep plugging along on the farm, living our lives, and trying to make a living doing what we love to do.”
Chapin said that while dairy prices are looking good right now, “there’s been more downs than ups in dairy prices in recent years.” He observed that even though prices are good now, the cost of inputs and fuel is cutting into that margin, and continuing to put stress on farm families.
When visitors arrive at the farm, they will see a beautiful new shed that the Chapins hope to see completed before the event. In October of 2021, a barn fire destroyed the old barn on the property, and damaged the siding on their house. Fortunately, with their two sons in construction, the siding has been replaced and the farm looks ship-shape.
WCC Marketing Director Emily Bialkowski was quick to thank the Chapins for opening their farm to the public to celebrate Dairy Month.
“We admire their willingness to put in the extra time and work to welcome the public to their farm,” Bialkowski said. “Dairy farming is a wonderful lifestyle, and it is great for the Chapins to allow the public to experience life on one of the farms where the dairy products that their families love and rely on are produced.”
Bialkowski said that the 142 small family farmers that own the Westby Cooperative Creamery are the “foundation of everything that we do.” She said that the work of WCC employees every day supports dairy farm families in living the farm lifestyle, “and that’s really special.”
Major sponsors of the 2022 Vernon County Dairy Breakfast include Westby Cooperative Creamery, Organic Valley, Kickapoo Corners, Compeer Financial, Nelson’s Agri-Center, Westby Cooperative Credit Union, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Vesbach Oil, Sleepy Hollow Motors, Consolidated, Kwik Trip, KG Party Rentals, Sani Spades, Selands Karpetland, MDS and Culvers.Additional support for the event comes from Kickapoo Kwik Stop, Embroidery & More, Kickapoo Creekside, Two Brothers Collision, River Valley Livestock, Animal Tracks Veterinary Clinic, Viroqua Tire Shop, Norwegian Hollow, Mr. G’s, Portland Implement, C&C Landscaping, Viroqua Dairy Queen, Nuzum Building & Supply, Premier Co-op, Dr. Paul & Paula Grenier, Janzen Concrete, People’s State Bank, Simpson’s Tractor, Vernon Electric Cooperative, Chaseburg Co-op, Coon Valley Dairy Supply, St. Josephs Equipment, Rooster’s Bar, River’s Edge Cabins, Citizens First Bank, Cousins Concrete & Construction, Novas Glass, Lackore Electric Motor Repair, Brockway Trucking & Excavating, Cashton Vet, Clucker Repair, Liberty Bar, Matthes Farms, Northern Agri Brands, Dairyland Seed, M2 Stump Removal, Foremost Farms USA, Hillsboro Brewing, and Signs by Shawn.