Organic Dairy a Local Success - Jan 27, 2012 - Small Business Development Center - UW-Superior News and Events

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    Organic Dairy a Local Success

    Posted on Jan 27, 2012
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    Organic Dairy a Local Success

    Springbrook Organic Dairy, a grass-based dairy in Springbrook, west of Hayward, is the long-time dream of Theresa Depies and her family. One Jersey cow, given as a Mother's Day gift in 1990, and some help from the UW-Superior Small Business Development Center (SBDC), made that dream a reality. Today Springbrook has 40 head of Jerseys, milks 18 cows and expects to expand to 36 milking cows in the next five years. 

     "I worked with Julianne Raymond [UW-Superior SBDC director] when I was first starting to get a business plan together," says Depies. "She met with me in Hayward, which was really nice because I didn't have to travel far. That's a big benefit, to have that outreach for people. We worked on the business plan, feasibility studies and marketing."

     A $26,000 USDA Value-Added Grant in 2010 helped to fund a computer, Web site, logo and other marketing activities. The grant was extended to 2011 to fund additional product offerings.

     Since 1990 the family has organically farmed nearly 180 acres. They chose Jersey cows because of their superior milk, higher protein and calcium content, and less waste production.  The cows are on pasture an average of 200 or more days each year, which contributes to the exceptional flavor of the milk. 

    Springbrook organic products are sold at 25 area retail outlets and restaurants. Products currently include white and chocolate milk in half-gallon bottles and cheese curds. This summer the family will add yogurt and smaller bottles of milk. Depies is also working towards becoming a Wisconsin artisan cheese maker.

     Five family members keep the Springbrook Dairy productive. Monthly business meetings with an outside mediator help to keep the "business" in this family business. "The meetings have been an absolute godsend to this operation," says Depies. "Having a family run small business brings in some different scenarios that you would not have if you had regular employees. The meetings keep us constantly moving forward. I would highly recommend it for anyone who has any type of family business or start up."

     The Depies family is committed to sustainable farming practices. Depies speaks about sustainable farming and the local food movement on local radio stations and at conferences in Northwestern Wisconsin in an effort to promote the advantages of buying local for the consumer, community and country.   For more information about this successful local business, check out www.springbrookorganicdairy.com.

    Article written by freelance writer Leah Call (lcall@mwt.net ).

    News Contact: Leah Call | lcall@mwt.net
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