Adam Wehling identifies with many titles: dad, husband, farmer and Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Wehling grew up on a dairy farm where he helped his parents milk 50 Holstein cows and raise steers. To this day, agriculture is still the dinner conversation topic any time his family gets together. After doing some genealogy work, the Wehling family discovered farming has been a part of both sides of the family since the 1600s.
Today, Adam and his wife, Katie, are co-owners of Cedar Bee Farm where they raise and sell pastured pork, free-range chicken, strawberries, asparagus and honey. The couple has two sons Easton, 5 and Owen, 8 months. The family has made a point to identify niche markets in the Chippewa Valley and capitalize on those areas of consumer demand. They differentiate themselves by selling direct to consumers, grocery stores and restaurants. Some of their most popular pork items are breakfast sausage links and bacon made with their own honey and a specialty beer, bacon and cheese brat made with Wisconsin products.
In order to plant and harvest earlier, the Wehlings built a 30 by 96-foot-high tunnel to grow strawberries and asparagus. This past year, they started harvesting asparagus in late April and the strawberries were available in mid to late May.
Before the vision of Cedar Bee Farm, Wehling remembers entering high school as a “shy farm kid searching for direction in life.” After joining FFA, his FFA advisor provided him guidance and his future took shape. After serving as the Wisconsin State FFA Parliamentarian and graduating from UW-River Falls, Wehling taught high school agricultural education for 12 years, which lead him into his current role as Dean of Agriculture, Energy and Transportation at Chippewa Valley Technical College. A true teacher at heart, he says his favorite part of serving as dean is “seeing a student’s face light up at graduation when they tell me about a dream job they just landed.”
“I get to provide my sons with opportunities to take pride in what they do, responsibility for other living creatures and hope they can pay it forward to others in the future,” Wehling said.
Story by Sarah Marketon. Original version appeared in the June/July 2017 issue of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route.