Member Name: Brandon Probst
Hometown: Rib Lake, Wis.
Joined AgSource: 2012
Milks: 46 mixed breed (Brown Swiss, Ayrshire) in tie-stall barn
Brandon Probst & Autumn Meyer in the pasture
|Brandon Probst didn't grow up on a farm, but he's been working on the same dairy for nine years. He's good friends with Glenn and Mary Harder's youngest son, and what started out as "helping out on their farm" has grown into a business proposition. The Harder's four children each have careers outside of the dairy and would not be joining Glenn and Mary, so ownership of the dairy is transitioning from Glenn and Mary to Brandon.|
Harders started grazing in 1991 and have been organic for five years. Milk from this herd sent to Organic Valley. As a beginning farmer, Brandon appreciates the reliable info he receives from AgSource each month. Brandon notes, "Especially with being new to dairy farming, let AgSource come once a month and get the measurements. It's a lot less pain, and there are enough other things to worry about when you're just starting out."
|One way Glenn is helping Brandon transition into organic grazing is by keeping the records. Every spring, Glenn fills out a grazing plan for the summer and maps out when and where the cows will rotate. "When you are grazing, you have to keep really good records," says Probst. Over the years, Harders also assisted with the transfer of animals, paying Brandon a salary and giving him ownership of young stock. As of May 2012, Brandon has purchased the entire herd and all equipment.|
Glenn finishes feeding grain to the cows.
Milking twice a day in a tie-stall barn keeps Brandon busy, but it's also his favorite part of the job. "Milking is relaxing," says Probst, "That is, unless it's one of those ‘when it rains it pours' kind of days."
Most days, you can find Autumn Meyer, Brandon's girlfriend, helping with chores and caring for the calves.
Probst's future plans are to stay in the dairy business and keep improving. He hopes to someday buy the farm down the road as his herd grows.