AUGUSTA — In rural Wisconsin, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon a family-owned farm or two just off the highway. But Terri Karow, co-owner of Karow Farms in Augusta, said she’s worried it’s becoming less common.
More and more farms are going out of business, Karow said. So she and her husband, Mark, opened their farm to the public to show how things are done.
“It’s a good opportunity for getting the public out to see what a family farm looks like and how it’s run,” Terri said.
With so many family farms going out of business, Terri said, an event such as this is important to draw attention to the issue and to show nonfarmers where their food comes from.
Terri is “pretty much the animal person” on the farm. Mark, she said, does most of the work out in the fields.
Being “the animal person” entails milking cows, feeding the animals and taking care of whatever needs to be done, she said.
They have about 60 cows they milk, she said, and they raise about 200 animals total. Mark had a partnership with his father until 2009, and he bought the farm from his dad in 2014.
Throughout the afternoon, the Karows hosted an array of activities, including cattle judging, a petting zoo, kids’ activities, speakers and a cookie/bar bake-off. Guests were able to walk around the farm and see where the cows live and how the farm’s day-to-day operations run.
Mark Lutzen, a tractor driver for Karow Farms, said he enjoys working on the farm, joking about how the tractors have air conditioning. He said this event was important because of how small, local farms are shutting down.
“Pretty soon, there’s not gonna be any farms left,” he said, “because of poor prices on farms for products that they raise and sell.”
Several of the attendees grew up on a farm and brought their children and grandchildren to see what farms were like.
For instance, Anna Krupp grew up on a farm in Augusta and brought her kids, 9-year-old Ella and 7-year-old Henry, so they could have a glimpse into what she experienced growing up. The Krupps live in Philadelphia but were back in town visiting relatives.
“They loved seeing the baby calves and baby chicks,” Anna said, as her daughter was running over to pick up a kitten. “I think seeing the baby animals is exciting to them.”
Chippewa Falls residents Pam Ebben, her husband, Paul, and grandson, Nicholas, came to visit the animals.
“He (Nicholas) loves to see animals,” Pam said. “He’s having a blast. He doesn’t get to see cows very much.”
Pam said she and Paul grew up on farms. They both enjoy visiting farms now, she said, because “it’s interesting to see the changes.”