VIDEO STORY: Huge turnout for Vernon County Dairy Breakfast despite the heavy rains

VERNON COUNTY, Wis. – Despite almost torrential early morning rains it seemed like most of Vernon County was in attendance at the 2024 Vernon County Breakfast at the Goede Family Farms in Newton Valley. The breakfast is organized by the Vernon County Dairy Promotion committee with the help of numerous other organizations and the generous donations of many area businesses.

The bad weather and mud almost seemed to bring people together more as tractors roamed the parking areas looking for helpless vehicles, and strangers pushed stranded cars out of the muck. The kids seemed happier with the mess as they kicked off their boots and took advantage of the chance to get dirtier than usual.

Lorn Goede is the current owner of the Goede Acres Family Farm along with his son Joel who is a partner with his Dad. Lorn said there is a long tradition of farming and family involvement and pointed to the hay rake at the front of the road leading to the farm and said “that was bought with my grandparents wedding money.”

Below is the farm history that was posted at the event:

In 1914, Fred Goede retired from conducting on the
LaCrosse streetcar system. He, wife Tena and young family
headed to Newton Valley and bought the current home farm
of 80 acres and started a small dairy. The family grew to
seven children and the farm grew with them. After
graduating 8th grade from the school next door, the
youngest son, Denward started taking care of the home farm
in 1942. Denward and his wife Marlene grew the farm
milking Guernsey cows. In 1988, their oldest son, Lorn,
brought his family home to farm during one of the worst
droughts in modern memory.

That testing year passed and successful growth
continued until August 5, 1999. The 85 years of dairying
came to an end when an accidental fire burned down the
dairy barn. Uncomfortable with committing to rebuilding the
dairy at that point, Lorn found a job off the farm and kept the
farm running with beef cattle and crop production.
When Lorn’s son Joel started working at a dairy farm
he discovered a passion for Jersey cows that took hold and
would not let go. His dream to milk Jerseys one day grew
and twenty years later, Joel convinced dad to return to dairy
farming. The family farm was again a dairy with his wife
Jenny and their four children by his side. Today, the familv
milk 110 Jersey and Holstein cows.
The road back to cows took a detour when the family
built two laying hen barns, one in 2004 and the other in 2005.

The layer barns are still operating today with a
maximum capacity of 15,000 hens.
Having worked with Organic Valley to market eggs
and hogs in the past, the Goedes knew they wanted to keep
their land certified organic and produce organic milk as well.
Their milk is now shipped to Organic Valley.
Cows are housed in a sand-bedded freestall barn and
utilize the farm’s 95 acres of pasture to graze from May
through December. The family also farms almost 500 acres
organically to produce feed for the cows and layers. The
Goede’s very recently completed a new calf shed which is
being utilized by the dairy breakfast before the calves get to
use it.
Today, Lorn and Joel are equal partners in the limited
liability company. The matriarch of the family, Marlene,
contributes in numerous ways as well. “We’re so blessed to
have her help every day,” Joel said. “She’s picking eggs,
mowing lawn, gardening, and she still has lunch every day at
12:15 for anyone, whoever is out here.”

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