The Dunnum Family: Ryan, Jamie, Katelyn, Riley, Maya, Sawyer, Zoey; and Grandmother, Janet.
"Top-of-the-Town" Dairy Farm, Westby, WI
Ryan, Jamie, Katelyn (14), Riley (11), Maya (7), Sawyer (6), Zoey (2); and Grandmother, Janet.
Hello! We are Ryan and Jamie Dunnum; and with the help of our five kids, and Ryan's mother, Janet, we own and operate our "Top-of-the-Town" family dairy farm near Westby, Wisconsin.
Ryan's parents (Ronald & Janet) purchased this farm in 1964, and he was later born and raised here. That makes for 50 years as patron-members of Westby Cooperative Creamery, to which Ryan was recently re-elected to his third three year term on the Board of Directors. A position the whole family is proud he holds in representing all of our member-owners, and the principles of our now 111 year old cooperative of local family dairy farms.
We took over the farm in 2006, and are building on a proud past for a promising future. Our farm has 120 acres of land for growing forage and annual grain crops as animal feed. And, at one time, tobacco was also grown on this farm. Growing wrapping tobacco for cigars was a popular crop throughout Wisconsin because of our soil types and growing conditions. We recently took down the old tobacco drying-barn to make way for expanding our dairy farm. All of the wood and metal roof from that barn was recycled and re-purposed into other uses.
Where that old barn stood, we now have a new freestyle barn for our dairy cow herd; which we are expanding from 50 to 64 Holstein-breed milking cows. A new milking parlor is in our plans for calendar year 2015, which will be a double-four-herringbone parlor, allowing us to milk eight cows at a time. This expansion will be funded, in part, by a state government grant program called Wisconsin Dairy 30x20.
This program was created to secure a strong future for Wisconsin family dairy farms and increase annual milk production in our state to 30-billion pounds by the year 2020 in order to meet growing demand in regional, national, and international markets for dairy food products and milk components. If you'd like more information, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Or, click this link.
Like any dairy producer, Ryan has a lot of experience milking cows; maybe even more so. He started as a teenager doing "relief-milking" for other farms, in addition to helping his folks on this farm. His "relief-milking" skills evolved into a small business of helping other dairy farms, often two to three farms per day, with milking duties; usually if there was an injury, emergency, family travel, or if extra help was just needed.
In fact, that's how we met. Ryan was doing relief-milking on the farm of a friend of Jamie's in the Viroqua-area. We met on a dairy farm, and now we own and live on a dairy farm. We married in 2001. Jamie graduated from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, in 2007, with a degree in nursing. She now works 12-hour shifts, 3 days of the week, at the Mayo Clinic in La Crosse as a Labor & Delivery Nurse. And, as the mother of five kids (and a sixth on the way; due in July-2015), she knows a lot about child labor and delivery.
All of the kids help on the primary dairy farm, along with a hobby-farm of sheep, chickens, and rabbits; where labor and delivery of baby animals is ongoing. The kids are also active in our local 4H organization, in addition to school and daily chores at home and on the farm.
We're quite sure that each is headed for a career in agriculture or medicine, or both. Perhaps one or more will become a Veterinarian; or, our next generation as a Wisconsin & American dairy farmer. Whatever they may choose to do as their life's work, we know this farm will continue on as the Dunnum Family "Top-of-the-Town" dairy farm.
If you're ever in the Westby area, please stop in for a visit. Just watch-out for kids and animals in the driveway. Each is often fast on their feet, and hard to corral.
Please remember -- when you take home country goodness from the family dairy farms of Westby Cooperative Creamery, you take home country goodness from our family -- the Dunnum Family -- and for that we say thank you!