Mineral Point is home to Heisner Family Dairy, Adam and Amanda Heisner’s organic dairy farm. They have about 100 cows and farm in partnership with Adam’s brother. Amanda also is a coordinator and teacher for the Mineral Point Unified School District.
For Adam, his interest in farming started when he was young growing up on his parent’s dairy farm in northern Illinois. In 1983, Adam’s dad moved to a farm in southwest Wisconsin, where the farm is today. Amanda had a similar experience, being raised on different types of farms in the Midwest and East Coast.
Like other business owners, farmers must decide how to best market their products to their consumers. For the Heisners, this means targeting a niche market of consumers who purchase organic milk.
“When we began organic farming in 2000, we were becoming part of a niche market we were certain would reach maturity within a few years,” said Adam. “The last 17 years have taught us that there continues to be demand from a small but valid portion of consumers.”
It’s important to Adam and Amanda that all sectors of agriculture do well.“I know that all production models have a place in agriculture,” Adam said. “We too often condemn one model to promote our own. I have always believed that agriculture needs to work together to better strengthen our connection to the consumer.”
Communication is something that the Heisners value and have used Farm Bureau’s programs to become more effective leaders and communicators.
“Becoming involved with the Young Farmer and Agriculturist program allowed us to improve our leadership and communication skills while networking with fellow young farmers from across the state and nation,” said Amanda. “One of the greatest opportunities this involvement offered me was participating in American Farm Bureau’s first Partners in Advocacy Leadership class.”
Amanda is a previous winner of Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Ag award, which judges participants on their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic and service organizations. She also was a state winner and national semi-finalist in the Discussion Meet, a contest for members to demonstrate their problem solving and speaking skills. She also is a member of a national farmer and rancher social media action group.
Continuous improvement is important to the couple for the farm and themselves. Their personal growth in Farm Bureau alone proves they always want to excel. “In the next five years, I want to become involved in local government, either school board or town board, in addition to leadership in Farm Bureau,” Adam said.
Story by Amy Eckelberg. Original version appeared in the June/July 2017 issue of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route.