SRPF Board Members
Joe Wagner, President, Greenbush
John Helmer, Vice President, Plymouth
Travis Luedke, Treasurer, Plymouth
Warren DeMunck, Glenbeulah
Clint Hodorff, Eden
Nick Kleiber, Elkhart Lake
Joe & Mark Loehr, Mt. Calvary
Mike Mulder, Plymouth
Dennis & Dan Roehrborn, Plymouth
Tom Stemper, Plymouth
Joe and Mark Loehr
Loehr brothers farm together on Loehr Dairy LLC. They grow crops on 950 acres and milk 500 cows. They farm in Fond du Lac County where the soil is predominantly silt loam.
Loehrs have received several benefits from being a member of SRPF. The cost-share program has helped offset expenses of trying new practices. The sharing of ideas between peers with similar goals helps them to see new and different conservation practices enacted on other farms, especially during field days. The biggest challenge they faced with implementing a conservation practice was not having the seed and chemical programs available or encouraged for some of the most progressive, sustainable ideas. They feel members of other conservation organizations, such as the Dodge County Healthy Soil, Healthy Water group have helped the farm collect a lot of valuable information.
There are many people who have tried a lot of different things. Mark's advice to those who haven't tried yet is to join a conservation group, research, utilize all avenues of education. Then start slow on a few acres to get your own experience on your own farm with your own equipment. He also feels it's important to share how it turned out so others can learn too. They both feel it's impossible to fully anticipate the outcome because of so many variables like weather, soil conditions, etc. However, by helping soil health and creating bio-diversity, inter-seeding also reduces wheel compaction and seems to have the benefit of supporting growth of nice Whitetail bucks.
Something that surprised the Loehr brothers is every year the soil conditions create different challenges – so the same equipment with the same settings may not yield the same results.
For generations, the Loehr family has embraced stewardship and made a priority of conservation. The practices have changed, but the principles have not. They feel it is important to have a sustainable farm because sustaining and improving the land has been a goal and principle of the Loehr family for five generations. It is not new, even if buzz-words create the idea that it is.
John is the owner of Helmer Dairy Farm LLC which consists of 85 head of registered Holsteins and 90 head of youngstock. He farms 250 acres of mostly red clay, raising corn, beans, and alfalfa. The farm is in Sheboygan County and was established in 1853. It is now operated by John, his wife, Lynn, and son, Andy, who will be the seventh generation. They also receive help from John’s parents, Bill and Judy, and his daughter, Erica who is involved in the dairy industry.
Being a member of Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers (SRPF) has given John the chance to meet several people doing different practices to learn from. He understands that there are always things that don’t turn out like expected, but that’s how everyone learns. There are many different people who helped John along the way. When he started manure storage plans and other land practices, David Clappes from Sheboygan County Land Conservation was a huge asset and great person to work with. In 2015, the farm installed a manure storage system. In 2016, they put in buffer strips, grass waterways, water diversion, along with a feed pad, machinery and cattle lanes which all helped water quality greatly.
Advice he would give other farmers looking to start a new practice is to surround yourself with people who have tried different things and take advice from them. John feels they have always been trying to incorporate practices that benefit the land along with the farm business.
John feels the chance to talk to fellow farmers about the success and failures and different ideas is probably one of the best things about SRPF. He says you must be sustainable in all aspects of your operation to be successful and always try to make things better for the future generations.
My wife Laura and I are 3rd generation farmers in the Town of Greenbush, Sheboygan County, where we raised 4 children. We grow corn, soybeans, and wheat on 235 acres. Approximately 65 acres are Highly Erodible Land (HEL).
The conservation practices we use include about 5000 feet of grassed waterways, 18 acres of buffer along a ditch that flows into the Sheboygan Marsh, strip-cropping, no-tilling soybeans on HEL land, and no-tilling all winter wheat and cover crops. These are practices we feel will ensure that the land is better when we leave than when we got here.
I have been a member of the Greenbush Volunteer Fire Department since 1980. As president of the Sheboygan River Basin Progressive Farmers, I am promoting conservation practices that will help farmers and the general public for many years to come.
I operate Roehrborn Farms LLC along with my parents and wife Cindy. We have 2 children and live in Sheboygan County near Johnsonville. We were recognized at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2017 because our farm has been in the family for 100 years. Our family also operates D-D Meat Processing. In 2012 we dispersed our Registered Holstein herd after purchasing a grain facility. Without the cattle, we no longer needed to grow hay, which led to new concerns on highly erodible fields that were no longer in an alfalfa rotation. That's when we began to establish water-way buffers, cover crops, use of minimum tillage and no-till practices. Working with the Sheboygan River Conservancy group and the National Corn Growers Soil Health Partnership program, we were able to improve soil health on our 720 acres.
My family has been active in FFA and 4-H our entire lives. I feel honored to be part of establishing the Sheboygan River Watershed Project and a founding member of the Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers.
I own and operate Roehrborn Farms LLC along with my son Dan and the rest of our family. My wife Shirley and I have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. This year will be our 48th wedding anniversary. I was born and raised on the family dairy farm which was my mother’s homestead. As a retired farmer, I keep busy with our D-D Meat Processing and the grain farm. Throughout the years, I have been involved in Conservation Congress, Deer 2000 committee, president of the Wisconsin Coon Hunters Association, Johnsonville Fire Department for 40 years and was fire chief for 13 years. Our family has also been active in FFA and 4-H in our community. Our newest involvements are with the Sheboygan River Watershed Conservancy and the Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers. I am excited to see where these efforts will take the future of farming and proud to participate in these programs.
I help manage my family’s dairy farm, Second Look Holsteins, outside of Eden, Wisconsin. We milk 950 cows and run 1,250 acres of farm land. We are a 5th generation farm, and are making room for the next generation to come in and help in the business. We are looking at ways to help with water quality and soil conservation. We are using vertical tillage, minimal disturbance manure applications, cover crops, and crop rotations to manage soil erosion and soil health. We have a nutrient management plan to help with manure application, soil health, and erosion. We have grassed waterways and are putting in 25-foot setbacks from creeks and waterways. We want to keep looking at ways to help with soil health and conservation efforts and feel being involved with the Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers will help us do so.