Black Creek Fourth Graders experience a day at Birling Bovine’s Farm

Black Creeks Middle Schools’ fourth grade class got to visit Birling Bovines on March 9 as part of the Adventures in Dairyland Program.
Mike Birling owner of Birling Bovines along with his children, shared his story on their Facebook page.
Birling said since his was a little boy all he wanted to do was become a farmer although he encountered some bumps in the road along the way. In 1969 he graduated from High School and planned on taking over the farm from his parents. In May of 1970 he was drafted into the Viet Nam war. He was discharged from the Army in December of 1971 and returned to his family farm to continue his farming career. His next challenge came in the winter of 1973, where he lost his left dominate hand in a corn piker accident.
He remembered thinking back then that he would try to farm with one hand for a year and see how it went.
Six days after he lost his hand he was milking cows again.
In 1976 he met his wife Jean, and they had four children Tammy, Cindy, Jim and Dan.
His wife and growing children

Black Creek fourth graders feel and even taste the different feed that the cows and calves eat. - Photo by Linda Titel

Black Creek fourth graders feel and even taste the different feed that the cows and calves eat. – Photo by Linda Titel

developed a 96 cow dairy farm and interest with at least one of his sons to carrying on the tradition led them to expand to what it is today.
In 1996 they named the farm Birling Bovines and created their mission statement, “Failure is not an Option.” They will find a way to get it done.
Seeing that philosophy carried out by his children and their children makes Mike very proud.
Never in his wildest dreams did he think that some day all four of his children would be back with him running the farm.
His four children that did chores together are back working together with him which is very special to him. Mike is extremely proud of their dedication and work ethic and he said they are better business people than he is which is very important in this day and age running a farm.
Mike said, “Seeing the same passion in their work as he had and passing it down to their children is very humbling.” His grandchildren tell him all the things they want to do when they are old enough to take over which gives him peace knowing the farm will continue for another generation.
Birling said that raising children on a farm is a great experience because it gives the child early responsibility and they learn quick that giving up is not an option.
Over the years although they have encountered challenges and hardships they had always found a way to succeed because “Failure is not an Option.”
Today, Birling Bovines have about 1150 cows (milking and dry) and they produced 3,726,301 gallons of milk last year.
They have about 270 calves in hutches outside and inside the auto barn.
Birling Bovines feed about 130,000 pounds of feed per day to their milking cows. Each milking cow eats about 110 pounds of feed each day.
Feed harvested in 2016 :
20,000 tons of corn silage; 15,000 tons of haylage; and 5,000 tons of high moisture corn.
They farm 2,500 acres of land (equivilant to 1,890 football fields). It takes a piece of land equal to the size of two football fields to feed a cow for a year.
UW-Extension has partnered with the Outagamie County Dairy Promotion to present an educational program, Adventures in Dairyland. This program reaches out to the area 4th graders to teach them about the dairy industry. There are many students and their families who are very interested in where their food comes from. Our program is here to tell the story of farming, particularly dairy farming in Wisconsin. It is their mission to raise awareness of local dairy farm life, quality animal care, and healthy dairy products to members of our community.
The Outagamie County Dairy Promotion is a non-profit organization of agriculture professionals and dedicated dairy farm families in Outagamie County that partner with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to positively promote the dairy industry and products.
They team up with local individuals who are passionate about the dairy industry through the Adventures in Dairyland Program. They primarily teach Kindergarten thru 4th graders how Wisconsin dairy farmers produce the quality dairy products they eat, along with fun educational materials. They also support local farmers who allow farm tours for school children to see where their milk comes from, by providing milk, cheese, and ice cream treats for the kids.