Monroe County brothers being recognized for land stewardship
Paul and Gerald Klinkner have been farming all their lives and they know it takes to be successful in today's tight markets.
The brothers, who own dairy operations on St. Mary's Ridge near Cashton, learned a lot of they practice from their father. But he also taught them to be good stewards of the land.
Gerald operates a 65-head dairy herd, while Paul's milks 60 cows. Between them, they have over 600 acres, sharing some of the work land and machinery.
They also share a deep regard for farming, a strong commitment to family and a philosophy about the land they own.
"To do as best we can leaving the land as good as we can for the next generation," as Gerald put it.
Paul echoes that sentiment. "I try to do what every farmer does," he said. "I try to leave the land in better shape than when we got it. Make it better for the next generation."
And the brothers, along with their families, have succeeded in that noble effort. Paul and his wife, Geralyn, along with Gerald and his wife, Ann, are being recognized as the Conservation Farmers of the Year by the Monroe County Land Conservation Department (MCLCD).
They will be honored at a banquet at Jake's Northwoods Saturday, Jan. 27 along with the Conservationist of the Year, and Tree Farmer of the Year.
The Klinkners have implemented a number of conservation practices on their farms, including contour stripping, developing grass waterways, leaving headlands on ends of fields, installing an earthen manure pit and water retention dams, restoring stream banks and a number of other measures.
A lot of it has been in conjunction with the MCLCD. "We in Monroe County have a good group of conservationist to work with," said Paul. "All you have to do is ask. They're willing to help anyone who has concerns."
In fact, Paul was Monroe County Land Conservationist Bob Micheel's first project back in 1990, when Paul's farm was held up as a Kickapoo Watershed Demonstration Farm, where farmers around the area came to learn about manure management, contour stripping and other conservation practices.
The brothers also realize that good conservation practices go hand in hand with good business practices.
"Most farmers do this because it's practical and makes common sense," added Paul.
As for the next generation, one of Gerald's sons works with him on the farm while another works on his father-in-law's dairy farm. Paul's kids also are interested in farming and carrying on the tradition.
The public is invited to celebrate the 2017 Monroe County Land Stewardship Award Winners. The banquet will be held at Jakes Northwood’s in Sparta at 6 p.m. and will consist of an evening meal, a program featuring retired Monroe County Ag Agent Dave Olson, and award presentations along with youth poster contest recognition.
Tickets can be purchased through the Land Conservation Dept., 820 Industrial Drive, Suite 3, Sparta, WI 54656. Contact - Connie @608.269.8975, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.co.monroe.wi.us/departments/land-conservation/ for additional information.
Registration deadline for the banquet is Friday, Jan. 19.