This is a brief history of our farm written in an essay by Terry's daughter.
Change By Nicole Weisenbeck
"Change". For some this is a dreaded thing, for others it is a blessing. Change helps us grow, and helps us adapt to society. Change is not an uncommon word when describing Homestead Farms, Inc. The farm has changed so much over the years that one could hardly recognize it had he not been informed of the drastic changes. It has changed immensely since the its beginning when Michael Weisenbeck (my great great grandpa) bought it in 1892.
Michael Weisenbeck, along with his family immigrated to America and ended up 13 mile south of Durand in a place commonly known as Weisenbeck valley. He carried with him a mere two hundred dollars that ended up buying him a farm. He purchased Homestead Farms in 1892. Michael is quoted as saying "We came at once to Durand because we had an uncle living in this vicinity. Our farm was only 120 acres. We had only a team and one cow for all that big family".
Homestead Dairy grew throughout the years, and was passed on generation after generation. First, it was passed down to Matson and Lucy Weisenbeck, and then to my grandparents, Arnie and Edie Weisenbeck, in 1965. At this time, the farm had grown to 312 acres, with a four stall-milking parlor, and a loose housing barn. In 1972, Arnie and Edie built a double-four milking parlor and 75 cow free-stall barn over a concrete slatted floor.
In 1978 my dad, Terry Weisenbeck, started working full-time on the farm, followed by my uncle Chris in 1979. In 1980 they purchased an adjoining farm of 260 acres. This farm is currently where I live along with my family.
Finally in 1993 marked a huge milestone in the history of the farm,. My dad marked this as "the most significant change in the farm throughout the years." Homestead Dairy decided to expand. They built a double-eight milking parlor and a new free-stall barn adjoining to the old one. They increased their dairy herd from 80 to 200 cows.
The farm settled down for a few years and began to grow increasingly productive. In fact in 1998 and 1999 Homestead Dairy Farms was nominated for the Best Managed Farms contest. The results were amazing. In 1999 our farm was ranked 27th in the best managed farms of the entire nation. This title was welcome with open arms by the farm.
Soon after this, the farm decided to form a corporation. So on April 1, 2000, Homestead Dairy Farms became Homestead Farms, Inc. This did not change anything in the day to day operations but in July a neighboring farm came up for sale. It was only 4 miles away and it appeared the Homestead Farms was ready for another step. With the addition of the 450 acres came an additional 200 milk cows, which were located at a separate facility. Homestead accepted the responsibility realizing this would require a lot more management and more change.
In the spring of 2001 Homestead Farms was looking for a way to become more efficient with silage harvesting. They joined forces with two other farms, one located 2 miles away and the other 20 miles away. The intent was to better utilize owned equipment and get the forage harvested on a timelier basis. That was the reason for partnering with a farm 20 miles away, their forage would be ready for after the first 2 farms were finished. Today they continue to refine the operation chopping some 1200 acres per crop of alfalfa and over 900 acres of corn silage.
Today the farm is operated by my uncle, with my grandpa helping out whenever he can. My dad oversees all of the cropping operations on the over 1800 owned and rented cropland along with machinery maintenance and record keeping for the corporation. My uncle Chris oversees anything related to the Dairy herd. The Corporation currently employs 11 full time employees that I think my great great grandpa never would have envisioned over 100 years ago.
visitors have been here.