MADISON — The state’s dairy community honored a Waunakee farmer for his work in helping to build a successful family dairy and an innovative environmental stewardship program.
The Dairy Business Association’s Advocacy Award was given to Jeff Endres, a co-owner of Endres Berryridge Farms LLC, on Jan. 18 during the organization’s Dairy Strong 2017: The Journey Forward conference at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.
Endres, along with his brothers, Steve and Randy, and their families, guided the farm’s expansion from the 60 cows his parents milked to 550 cows today, allowing the dairy to remain competitive and profitable. Endres was also one of the founders of Yahara Pride Farms, a farmer-led non-profit organization that works to improve water and soil quality. Endres serves as the organization’s chairman.
“I am so honored to receive this award. It has always been my goal and dream that Yahara Pride can help the dairy industry throughout the state,” Endres said.
The work done by Endres and Yahara Pride Farms has inspired others in Wisconsin to form their own farmer-led conservation groups, said Marjorie Stieve of Vita Plus Corp., who presented the award. Endres is also on the executive board for the Clean Lakes Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on improving the water quality of the lakes, streams and wetlands of the Yahara River in Dane County.
“Jeff has been influential at creating and executing the vision to lead his area farmers forward in the quest to improve water quality and farm management,” Stieve said. “And even more impressive is that Jeff manages to do this all while continuing to work with his brothers and operate their farm.”
Endres has led most of the farm’s expansions, including the building of a second dairy barn, two young-livestock buildings and a manure compost facility. Composting allows farmers to stack manure, giving them flexibility to avoid spreading when conditions are unfavorable. The process also means the farm can transport a more nutrient-dense product, so manure management is easier and more cost-effective.
“With dairy farming, you never retire,” Endres said. “It’s in your heart and on your mind every day.”
For more information about Dairy Strong, go to dairystrong.org.
— Dairy Strong
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