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In the News: Staff Columns

When crisis hits: What we learned from fire

Friday, May 3, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joanna Guza, digital communications manager
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Matsche Farms in Birnamwood was started in 1966 with two milking cows. During the past 50 years – with a lot of hard work, long hours and dedication – the farm now has 5,000 milk cows, raises most of the calves and heifers and works to protect and preserve the environment.

Scott and Carrie Matsche own the dairy farm. In October 2017, the family experienced a barn fire. They share their experiences from this devastating event and the future of the family farm.

DBA: They say challenges bring opportunities. Did you see any opportunity in this experience?
Matsches: We are working with the local fire department to create a map of our farm property for them and us to use for emergency response. This way, firefighters and other emergency response agencies will know where to go on the property if called.

DBA: Hindsight is 20/20. Would you do anything differently?
Matsches: We would make sure to test purchased bales, no matter how busy we are. We do test but missed some during the busy harvest season.

DBA: Was there community support?
Matsches: There were 10 area fire departments assisting with the fire. Our farm, the American Red Cross and a local business called Star Campsite provided food and drinks to everyone volunteering. We also had support from some of our neighbors and neighboring farms.

DBA: What advice do you have for other farms that might go through a fire?
Matsches: It is important to always have a plan for any kind of scenario. Be sure to include employees if needed.

DBA: What are you most proud of on your farm?
Matsches: The family members, our kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, who keep working and fighting for the dairy community. We are also proud of our employees and cows who all play key roles in the success of the farm.

DBA: What does the future hold for Matsche Farms?
Matsches: We hope to be here for our next generation.

DBA: You have been a member of DBA since 2013. What benefit do you find most helpful?
Matsches: Help with legal and regulatory questions along with support on media responses the most helpful.

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