EDEN, Wis. – For several years Clint Hodorff has been willing to try new things – from studying police science to becoming a certified crop adviser to trying new forages on his family dairy farm and more. Trying new things also is one of his main pieces of advice to aspiring farmers.
“Be ready to try new things, get dirty and have a blast while doing it,” he said.
Hodorff shows that spirit on his family’s farm – Second Look Holsteins – near Eden. He said the farm’s name originated from his parents.
“The cows are so good you have to come to take a second look,” he said with a smile.
Clint and Erin Hordorff were selected as finalists in the 2021 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award program.
He farms with his brother, Corey Hodorff. Their father, Doug Hodorff, is retired. Linda Hodorff, the brothers’ stepmother, manages the farm’s books. The Hodorffs milk 1,000 cows and manage a total of 1,400 head of cattle. Most of their heifer-calves are raised by a custom grower.
The family also farms 1,300 acres. They grow corn for both grain and silage as well as alfalfa, rye, wheat and soybeans. Clint Hodorff is the farm’s CEO; he also manages the cropping operation.
He began farming after exploring other areas. After graduating from high school in 1999, he studied police science at Fox River Technical College. He returned to the farm in 2004 before taking a job with Jay-Mar Inc., an agricultural retail company in Plover, Wisconsin.
At Jay-Mar he learned how to write nutrient-management plans and formulate fertilizer mixes. He also learned about seed and crop-protection products; he later earned certification as a certified crop adviser. He was a sales agronomist for Jay-Mar before returning to the farm in 2016.
“I came back to the farm with knowledge I learned working with Jay-Mar and while obtaining my certified-crop-adviser certification,” he said. “I also learned from farmers and from attending University of Wisconsin training events. I returned to the farm because I knew I had learned skillsets that would help our dairy move forward.”
Steve Woodford of Nutrition Professionals Inc., said, “As an agronomist Clint thinks outside the box on forage combinations. He’s always looking for the next best mousetrap to improve yield and quality.”
Woodford is based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; he works with the Hodorffs on balancing dairy rations. He also provides recommendations on supplements.
“Clint represents the future of the dairy industry; he seeks to constantly improve,” he said. “You must do that in this industry.”
Dr. Mark Sosalla, a veterinarian with Country Hills Animal Health of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, works with the family on their herd-health program and protocols.
“With his agronomy background, Clint comes at dairying with different questions,” he said. “I like that; it makes me think.”
Hodorff is an advocate for agriculture, Sosalla said. Hodorff is a member of the Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers, a farmer-led watershed-protection group. He also serves on the public-policy committee of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.
And he serves as school-board chairman of Faith Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac. As a father of five children he values education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic his children have been attending school virtually. That has kept his wife, Erin Hodorff, even busier than normal.
Asked what he's most proud of, he said, “I’m most proud that our farm has been around for more than 100 years. Our focus is encouraging the next generation to manage the farm. The farm equals family and faith; family and farm are the three most important things in my life.”
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.