For a glimpse at how much the dairy industry has changed in the last century, you just have to ask the Schmidt family.
The early beginnings of S&S Jerseyland Dairy in Sturgeon Bay date back to 1902 when William and Josephine Schmidt purchased the initial 120 acres and a milking herd of 20 cows. In the years since, there have been expansions, tragedy, and even a transition out and then back into milking cows. Now the operation milks over 3,300 cows daily in addition to hosting 1,200 calves and 1,600 heifers on site.
Tanner Schmidt is now a fifth-generation farmer along with his two brothers and his parents Randy and Dena. Working as the farm’s dairy manager, Schmidt has seen the technology change drastically over the years, which includes GPS technology when it comes to planting crops in the field to the monitoring collars each cow wears in their barns. He says there is a lot of information he looks over on a daily basis.
It is the technology that excites Schmidt the most as it has allowed the farm to be more productive while also limiting its carbon footprint. He added coming back to the family farm was always in the plans, calling it a privilege to work alongside his grandparents, parents, and two brothers.