His sense of humor and passion for agriculture are two things you’ll notice quickly when meeting Vernon County Farm Bureau member and beef farmer Alex Bringe.
“I’m motivated to get out of bed each day by the fear of my cows being out,” Alex said with a chuckle.
While he isn’t afraid to crack a joke, Alex is very serious about his love for life on the farm and raising beef cattle. His journey into beef farming took a few twists and turns.
“Throughout most of the time that I was growing up, we had dairy cattle on the farm,” Alex explained. “I started raising beef cattle as a 4-H project and it just kind of took off.”
The fifth-generation farmer says his 4-H project started with two beef cattle and today has grown into 120 cows and calves. He raises the calves to market weight that results in nearly 100 full-grown beef animals to sell each year. The cows and calves start on pasture until the calves reach about 800 pounds, when they are weaned and moved to a different barn where they are given a grain ration specially formulated to meet nutritional requirements.
Farming runs deep in his family. Alex’s ancestors settled on the farmstead in 1867 after emigrating from Norway. This year, the Bringes will be recognized at the Wisconsin State Fair during the Century and Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Award Program for being a family farm for 150 years.
Alex is the oldest child in his family. He has two sisters: Kari who is a fourth-year resident in orthopedic surgery at the University of Washington-Seattle, and Katelyn who is a recent graduate of the UW-Madison. His parents, Armand and Mary Jo, are still active on the farm and in the local community.
“Dad helps a lot with the crops,” Alex explained. “He has always enjoyed the crop side of things and now he can really focus on that area of the farm. Mom is starting her third term on the county board of supervisors so we all stay busy.”
With little free time between balancing duties on the farm, Alex admits he always makes time to attend Farm Bureau events.
“I joined Farm Bureau because I was looking to get more involved in the ag community and knew this organization mirrored some of my own personal ideas and values,” said Alex.
He hasn’t shied away from getting involved on the local and state level. Alex has been on his county Farm Bureau board of directors since joining in 2007 and serves on the state Policy Development Committee.
Alex credits his Vernon County Farm Bureau membership for connecting him with other farmers around the state.
“Getting to know other people from around the state has been one of the biggest rewards of being a Farm Bureau member,” said Alex. “Knowing there are other people out there doing the same thing you are and experiencing some of the same challenges helps you realize that you aren’t out there alone.”
It’s no joke that Alex enjoys the opportunities that being a Farm Bureau member gives him and is passionate about the lifestyle he has chosen.
“As a farmer, I am always working to identify ways in which I can be a better steward to the environment,” said Alex. “I want people to trust me. I want them to know that I’m raising a product that is healthy, good quality and something that I gladly eat myself.”
Story by Sarah Marketon. Original version appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Rural Route.