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Farm family carries on tradition

Dairy breakfast hosted third time at Ortner farm

6:34 PM, Jun. 13, 2013  |  Comments
The Pittsville FFA Alumni, Pittsville FFA and Pleasant Corners 4-H Club will host a June Dairy Breakfast on Saturday.
The Pittsville FFA Alumni, Pittsville FFA and Pleasant Corners 4-H Club will host a June Dairy Breakfast on Saturday.
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Fifty years ago, Justin and Marilyn Ortner decided to move their family, personal property and farming savvy from Iowa to Wisconsin. They purchased a 400-acre farm a few miles north of Pittsville. It has turned out to be a win-win situation for the Ortner family and the Pittsville community.

Vast improvements, expansion and changes have taken place within the Ortner operation during those 50 years. Once again, the family is willing to share those advancements with visitors on Saturday when it hosts the Pittsville FFA Alumni June Dairy Month breakfast for the third time.

Hosts of the event will be Dan and Lori Ortner and Joe and Marcy Ortner. The site of the breakfast and activities will be on the home farm, about two miles north of Pittsville on Highway A or 10 miles south on A off of Highway 10 near Marshfield.

Breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with a fee of $6 per adult. The menu will include pancakes, potato pancakes, sausage, ham and eggs, cheese, cranberry bread, cranberry juice, milk and ice cream.

Live music and radio broadcasting will be part of the activities. A petting zoo and an old-fashioned bakeoff contest will be held. Pleasant Corners 4-H will offer a variety of activities for children of all ages.

The Ortner families will have a range of farm machinery on display as well as a number of antique Pontiac cars. A National Farm Medicine display will be set up in cooperation with the Pittsville Fire Department.

Besides land purchases, buildings have been added to house livestock, feed, machinery and a milking parlor. A 4,000-bushel grain storage bin might be only partially used this year because of the limitation of a ripe corn harvest.

"Due to the continuing rain and inability to get on the fields, we only have about 20 percent of our crops planted," said Dan Ortner, 54. "As a result we can expect only silage, not ripe corn."

In the farm's confined dairy cow and dairy steer operation, "at the present time we have 466 head in our total operation, of which 150 are milk cows," said Joe Ortner, 51. "My wife and I do the morning milking and one of us is on hand to supervise the evening milking."

The farm's homegrown feed of silage, hay and grain is supplemented by truckloads of cranberry pulp and potato wastes, which are stored in bunker silos.

The Ortner brothers and their families have experienced progress and success throughout their years of farming, ever since their parents began the dairy operation 50 years ago. The only setback was the sudden death of father, Justin, who passed away in 1996.

Outside of farming, the families are involved in 4-H and church.

Four years ago, the family farm operation was selected for a La Crosse Diocese farm family award based upon the rural life motto of "Farm, Family and Faith."

Your visit to the Ortners' well-managed model farm to celebrate June Dairy Month on Saturday will bear out why the family has been selected for various honors.

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