In 1910, Frederick Feldt moved a few miles from the original farmstead in Dutch Hollow to the present valley of the Sulzer Family Farm. He was a dairy farmer and produced cheese right on the farm. Frederick’s son, Ben Feldt, took over the farm in 1921. Ben changed the operation from dairy to beef several years later. His dreams were more Western Ranch than Wisconsin Dairyland. These were the days of driving cattle for miles down country gravel roads from pasture to pasture and loading them at the railhead for shipping to market. The farm straddled the Illinois Central & Gulf railroad that connected Freeport, Illinois with Madison, Wisconsin so getting them to market was quite easy even back then.
Ben’s son Wally Feldt and son-in-law, Hans Sulzer farmed side-by-side for many years. Ben would purchase feeder calves in South Dakota and points west and send them back home in a convoy of double-decked cattle trucks. These feeder calves would be added to the hundreds of calves from their local cow/calf herds to form a huge feeder cattle operation.
Mike Sulzer is the 4th generation to farm this land on the rolling limestone hills of southern Wisconsin. His cow/calf operation produces about 125 spring market cattle. His herd is comprised of predominanty Angus with some Hereford, Charolais and Simmental crossbreeds. The cows pasture from spring to late fall and calve in September. In winter, the cows are fed alfalfa hay and silage while the calves nurse. Weaned calves are continued on hay, silage, alfalfa haylage and are supplemented with up to 10% pure shelled non-GMO corn until they are ready for market.
Mike is a director of the Green County Beef Producers and is active in locally promoting beef and supporting sustainable agriculture. He practices rotational grazing, composting and natural soil conditioning.