To have the claim of being a ‘century farm’ is typically quite an honor, but that’s not all that the Zahn Farm outside of Clintonville can say.
The farm is currently run by 2012 TCHDailyNews Farm Woman of the Year Mary Zahn, who continues with most of the work after her husband Dale had passed in 2015. It’s been in the Zahn name for well over a century and celebrated a huge milestone recently.
“In 2015, it was 150 years, so Dale and I actually had gone down to Milwaukee at the state fair and got an award,” Mary said of their operation. “It’s been in the family for 150 years and my kids, they’re the sixth generation here.”
The Zahn’s do a little of everything on the farm, whether it’s milking, farming the land, or raising young stock.
“We’re milking around 80 [cows], give or take,” she explained. “We raise our young stock, so we have calves from birth to breeding age, so we raise everything that we have for replacements.”
In addition, the Zahn’s own about 200 acres of their own land and rent 50 more. Mary says they don’t have a lot of hired help, but manage to get by with a little hard work.
“Basically, it’s [Mary’s son] Mike and I doing most of it. Once in a while, we have somebody that helps us a little bit with crops. Sometimes my daughter [Heidi] comes out when we have milk samples once a month, so she’ll come out and help with those.”
Mary acknowledges that farming has changed a lot over the years and has witnessed it first-hand, but she’s welcome to the change.
“You see a lot of different changes,” Mary said. “When I was growing up, we had buckets for the milk and I think Dale said when they started, they had transfer lines and after awhile it became the pipeline. That was a big improvement there, you didn’t have to carry the milk. It’s changed a lot, now the milk truck comes and picks it up.”