Agri-View is featuring a series on dairy farmers and other individuals serving on Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. The group was formed in June 2018 to study Wisconsin’s dairy industry and make recommendations to address short-term and long-term challenges. Tom Crosby of Crosby’s River Valley Dairy near Shell Lake, Wisconsin, was featured in the Dec. 27 issue. This week Janet Clark of Vision-Aire Farms near Rosendale, Wisconsin, shares her background in the dairy industry and her perspectives on Wisconsin’s dairy industry.

Janet Clark and her husband, Travis, joined her family’s dairy – Vision-Aire Farms – in 2010. They farm with her parents, Roger and Sandy Grade, and her brother David Grade. Roger and Sandy Grade are transitioning ownership and management to David Grade and the Clarks.

They milk 140 Holstein cows and farm 1,000 acres of alfalfa, corn, soybeans and wheat. About half of the crops are fed to the cattle; the remaining half is sold on the commodity market. The family also provides custom planting, baling and harvesting services.

David Grade manages the land and crops. Janet Clark oversees the farm’s financials as well as calf-feeding operations; Travis Clark is the herdsman. The farm was awarded the National Milk Quality award from Hoard’s Dairyman in 2015 and 2016.

Janet Clark has served in many committee-member and leadership positions. She currently serves on the board of directors of both the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. She also was nominated by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation to serve on the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0.

Task-force members were recommended by various agricultural organizations and were selected by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and University of Wisconsin-System President Ray Cross. Of the farmers that the Wisconsin Farm Bureau nominated, Clark was selected, as were Ryan Klussendorf of Broadland Grass Farm near Medford, Wisconsin, and Dave Daniels of Mighty Grand Dairy, near Union Grove, Wisconsin.

“They’re all active dairy farmers and represent different styles of dairying,” said Jim Holte, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, about why the organization nominated those farmers.

There’s no one solution to challenges the industry faces. Input from the task-force members can make recommendations to help Wisconsin’s dairy farms be successful whether they are small, medium or large in size, Holte said.

Clark’s farm, which milks 140 cows, is in the mid-sized range, while Klussendorf grazes and milks cows and Daniels, in a partnership, milks cows.

Clark said, “I wanted to serve on the task force because I’m concerned about the dairy industry. Too many good farmers have left our industry. I want to work with other dairy farmers and industry leaders to create a future for dairy.”

She said she wants to help preserve the dairy industry for future generations.

“Wisconsin is ‘the dairy state,’” she said. “We’ve kept the title because we – farmers and industry – have done an amazing job investing in dairy’s infrastructure. The world comes to Wisconsin to learn about dairy and the future it holds. I want the task force to make recommendations that will solidify the industry’s future.”

Her greatest concern is the number of farms that are no longer milking cows, she said. That also has negative effects on small businesses in rural communities.

Clark is serving on two of the task force’s subcommittees — consumer-confidence and perception, and rural communities support and infrastructure. Visit datcp.wi.gov for more information.

Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin. Email lgrooms@madison.com to contact her.