In 1902, Anton Kragness purchased land near Colfax, WI after emigrating from Norway four years earlier. On the original farm, Anton and his wife Gurine built several buildings including the original farmhouse, barn and tobacco shed. After Anton passed away in 1935, his two sons' Lloyd and Andrew operated the farm by increasing both land acreage and herd size. Endless days and nights of hard work put the farm in a position to move in a forward direction.
Dennis and his wife Mary joined his parents Lloyd and Avis after purchasing Andrew's share of the farm in 1973. The dairy grew from 50 cows to around 80 cows in the next few years. In 1986, Dennis and Mary took over complete ownership of the farm and called it Denmark Dairy. They raised five children on the homestead farm. Their only son, Karl, joined the farm in 2002 after graduating from UW-River Falls where both his parents also went to college. At that point, expansion of the farm became essential due to outdated facilities.
After years of discussion and research, the family decided to build a new facility five miles west of the home farm. In December 2006, Dennis and Karl's dream of expanding the farm came to reality when they moved 200 milking cows from the original dairy into the new dairy designed to milk six hundred cows. Additional cattle were purchased to help fill the barn. The new construction consisted of a double sixteen milking parlor facility, vet room, office and a 540ft barn to house cattle. The location was chosen to supply the dairy with proper ventilation and ease of expansion for future plans. The original dairy farm was transformed into a heifer raising facility. In 2007, a lagoon was built to store 3.5 million gallons of manure. The asphalt feed pad was also added in 2007. In 2008, a solid separator was installed to extend the lagoon storage and help improve sand quality on reclaimed sand used for bedding the free stalls. Karl and his wife Mandy purchased more land acreage and forage harvesting equipment to harvest and deliver all of the forage needs to the dairy.
In 2011, the decision was made to build another 250 cow special needs barn. This barn was designed for a variety of needs included calvings, dry cows and fresh cows. The asphalt feed pad was also doubled in size to accommodate adequate feed needs. In 2012, the decision to build a commodity shed and shop were made. Last, but not least, Karl and Mandy gave birth to their first child Olivia.
One hundred and ten years of blood, sweat and tears have brought the farm to where it is today. The dairy owns over 1100 acres and farms over 1600 acres. There are approximately 850 cows on the farm and 950 heifers raised off the farm. As of today, our dairy produces 29,500 pounds of milk per cow per year. Future plans include building another 5 million gallon lagoon in 2013. More cattle housing may be an option in the near future if the opportunity presents itself.
It was an honor to host the 2013 Dunn County Dairy Breakfast. We would like to thank everyone who helped us with preparing, volunteering and donating their time to get ready for the Dairy Breakfast. We are excited to share our story and farm with our family, friends and community. Thank you for joining us at the 2013 Dunn County Dairy Breakfast!
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