We’re excited to share some fun farm facts about Junion Homestead Farm – the family farm hosting our 2018 Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm, on June 17th, 2018. This year is our host family farm’s 150th anniversary!
Farm Facts & Stats
Tony & Peggy Knorn
250 Cows, 225 Milking 80 lb. Milk/Cow per Day Milking 2x per Day Fat – 3.8% Test Protein – 3.22% Test SCC – 140,000
Holsteins, Red & White Holsteins, Brown Swiss, and Guernseys. Holstein Rolling Herd Avg. of 26,423 lb. Brown Swiss Rolling Herd Avg. of 20,256 lb., 4.07% Fat & 3.5% Protein Guernsey Rolling Herd Avg. of 18,770 lb., 4.13% Fat & 3.31% Protein
Q&A with the Knorn Family of Junion Homestead Farm
What is your farming background?Are you a 1st-generation farmer, or do you come from many generations of farmers?
Tony was born and raised on a farm in Rib Lake, WI.When he moved here after marrying Peggy, he worked for two other local farms before purchasing Peggy’s parents farm in 1993.Peggy’s parents, Lawrence & Magdalene Junion sold the cows in 1966 when Peggy was young, they cash cropped the land after the cows left.Tony and Peggy brought back the cows and are the fifth generation on the farm – their children are the 6th generation, and their grandchildren are 7th generation farm kids!
What hardships have you had to overcome, personal or professional?How have they shaped the farm/you?
There are two hardships that stick out most in their minds. The first was the fire that destroyed the farm’s shop. The fire happened on February 5, 1997.Tony was able to get one tractor (the IH 666) out before the burning building was totally consumed by the fire.
The second hardship was the learning curve they experienced in their 2007 expansion.Learning how to manage the compost bed pack facility proved challenging in the beginning.They lost a lot of good cows the first year to toxic mastitis – there were times they were unsure the pack barn was the best decision, but as they learned to manage the pack the cows’ health improved!
Growth & Education: How did you grow your farm, and yourselves, to result in what we see today?
Tony was enrolled in the Young Farmer Class taught by Bill Zemke through NWTC. When the cows came home in 1993, they took things slow, remodeling the barn one side at a time. They have always had a desire to learn the most they can, and to do the best job possible on the farm. They believe in researching and consulting with others as they prepare to make a change on the farm.When looking to expand, they researched compost pack barns and went on farm tours to the see the facilities first hand. They also toured numerous parlor set ups before choosing the Dairymaster parlor.
To sum it all up: What do we see here today?What are your achievements?What are your goals & values?
What you see today on the farm has been 150 years in the making.They have the 5th, 6th, and 7th generation of family working and growing together on the farm. They value the tradition of family farming and are proud of the fact that they are the blood, sweat, and tears of the operation since 1868.
“We strive to manage our cattle and land the best we can to ensure the success of the farm and the generations to come.”
~The Knorn Family of Junion Homestead Farm
Over the last 150 years, the family has kept wonderful records of the history of their homestead farm – read this wonderful story they have shared with us!
JUNION HOMESTEAD, est. 1868
Lambert Junion was born on January 28, 1816 at Corroy-Le-Grand Belguim. He married Marie Julinne Raison, a girl from a village not far away called Sart-Risbart. They had four children. On the 15th day of February, 1856 they left Belgium for America. They sailed on the Vessel Colorek and arrived at the Port of New York on the 25th day of March, 1856. They took along their oldest son named Xavier and left the three other children with the grandparents. Xavier was 12 years old. Along with his parents they settled in the Luxemburg Township, Kewaunee County in 1868. Lambert died November 20, 1891 at the age of 75. Julinne died October 9, 1900 at the age of 82.
The Second Generation
Xavier Junion married Josephine Mottard, a Belgian girl that came from Beauvlihain, Belguim. They had eleven children, six boys and five girls: Theophile born September 9, 1869, Mary – January 18, 1871, Louise – June 20, 1873, Clementine – July 12, 1875, Joseph – January 19, 1877, Fabian – February 22, 1879, Adel – March 13, 1881, twins Norris and Charles – December 6, 1882 John – April 25, 1884, and Josephine – May 13, 1886.
A log house 25×30 feet was built and also a 80×40 feet basement barn with stone walls two feet thick. The horses were kept in this barn that were needed to work the 320 acres of land the family had purchased with hard work. Pigs, chickens, and cows also occupied the barn. Around the year 1891, daughter Mary married and an addition on the house of logs was almost finished, also of logs. Mary married Joseph Joniaux and they danced in the new addition (24×18 feet). More girls married, boys grew up and needed farms of their own, so Xavier divided the 320 acres he owned; 80 acres for Norris, 80 acres for Charles, 80 acres for Fabian, and 80 acres for Joseph – which became the Homestead, as he was the one chosen to care for his parents. Theophile and John never married, so they remained on the farm to help out. Xavier died May 28, 1916 at the age of 72 and his wife Josephine died February 21, 1920 at the age of 70.
The Third Generation
Joseph Junion was the third generation on this farm. He married Juliet Everard on November 4, 1903. Though their farms were separated, the three brothers (Norris, Charles, and Joseph) worked the land together, each with their own livestock. A sawmill was on the farm, for sawing lumber for their own use. Joe, John, and Theophile also did custom sawing for other people. The sawmill was powered by a steam engine and was stationed by the waterway. A deep hole was dug to capture water from melting snow and rain. Later on tractors were used; first a Hart Par then a Tition. With the use of the sawmill, more buildings were built on the farm. Joseph and Juliet had two children. Collette, born August 2, 1912 and Lawrence born July 3, 1915. Joseph Junion died August 12, 1934 and Juliet Junion died April 9, 1948.
The Fourth Generation
In 1937 Juliet Junion turned the farm over to Lawrence. Lawrence’s sister Collette had married Ben Koss on June 22, 1932 and they remained on the farm to help. Lawrence married Magdalene Deprey on June 19 , 1940 at St. Peters Catholic Church, Lincoln. They moved into the original log house built so many years ago. At this time, Norris Junion’s farm was for sale, so Collette & Ben bought the 80 acres in the spring of 1941. They milked approximately 14 cows by hand, and raised pigs & chickens. A gasoline engine was used to pump water to the barn and to light lanterns. They had two work horses and, in 1942, bought a used McCormick Deering 10-20 tractor. In 1943 electricity came to the farm. The barn was remodeled, gutters were put in along with stanchions for 34 cows. They bought 108 acres of land from Jule Joniaux in the town of Red River, adding to the Homestead’s 80 acres, on October 25, 1948. Combines were something new, so they purchased a 6 foot Massey Harris clipper pull type combine. No more shocking grain. Surge milk machines and milk coolers made farm life easier. A Ford tractor, plow, and wheel weights were purchased for $1,658.41 and the 10-20 was traded for a used Massey Harris 101. In 1955 they traded it for a new John Deere 70, which cost $3,830. In 1963 a Minneapolis Moline was purchased.
Besides farming, Lawrence owned trucks and did trucking for Larson Co., hauling green beans, peas, and sweet corn for 22 years. As time went by, Magdalene’s asthma became worse, Jim had a job, and Larry was drafted left for Vietnam on July 16, 1965 – so the herd of cattle was sold on June 6, 1966. The family began crop farming, also growing peas and beans on contract for the Larsen Co. and Green Bay Canning. Lawrence retired the trucking business and got a job in Algoma at Badger Northland and Calumet Co. delivering Liquid Manure tanks until his retirement on April 12, 1982.
There was quite a change now for Magdalene, as she began running the farm. In spring, the cultivating was done during the day and Lawrence returned home from work to find the fields ready for planting. They purchased a John Deere 45 combine, Magdalene learned to operate it and did most of the harvesting of oats and winter wheat. Fall plowing was done mostly by her also and weekends by both Magdalene and Lawrence.
They had three children: Jim born July 31, 1941; Larry born May 17, 1946; and Peggy born August 31, 1959. In 1996, the 1955 John Deere 70 tractor was restored. Jim took it to Valmy, Wisconsin for display at the Northeastern Wisconsin Antique Power Association, to Door County and to Heritage days in Luxemburg. Lawrence & Magdalene farmed for 50 years and on October 1, 1990 they moved to Luxemburg.
The Fifth Generation
Peggy Junion is the fifth generation. She married Anthony (Tony) Knorn of Rib Lake, Wisconsin on September 18, 1982. They moved onto the farm October of 1990. Tony cash cropped the farm for two years while working out on Morris Seifert’s farm and Peggy worked at Bellin Hospital. At this time, they had three children; Amanda born on September, 16,1985; Megan born on September 25,1989; and Amber born on November 23, 1991.
They purchased the farm January of 1993. They started remodeling the barn March of 1993. They remodeled one side of the barn with tie stalls, put a barn cleaner in, built a new milk house, rewired the barn, installed a bulk tank, vacuum line, and milked cows with bucket milkers and a stepsaver for the first year.
They purchased a herd of cows on May 29, 1993 from Lamont Burkhalter, of Tomah, Wisconsin; 29 cows and 6 bred heifers. They hired Dave Ducat to transport the cows home. The barn stood empty from June 6, 1966 until May 29, 1993; eight days shy of 27 years.
The last weekend of April 1994 they started remodeling the second side of the barn, removing the old concrete and stations. Half of the herd had to stay outside and they had to milk in two shifts. The first night the cows were outside they received four inches of snow. New tie stalls and a pipeline milk system were installed. Now the barn held 36 cows. In 1995, they cemented an outdoor bunk feeder in the cow yard. In 1996, they installed a manure auger and a 900 gallon bulk tank to replace the 400 gallon tank.
On February 5, 1997 the garage and shop burned down. They lost two tractors, tools, parts inventory, and many miscellaneous items totaling a loss of about $100,000. On April 7 the construction of their new 60×100 shop and machine shed began, by Walters Builders. On April 12, they began building the two stall car garage. March 27, 1997 they began remodeling the south end of the barn, which was used as machine shed. They put an additional 12 cow stalls and 2 maternity pens in, they put the manure auger out the south end of the barn. May of 1997 they were chosen “Farm of the Month” by Tri-County Publications. In December 1997, they were selected by Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee to host June Dairy Month Breakfast on the Farm, which was held July 5, 1998.
On March 28, 1998 they went to an auction in Shawano and bought an IH 986 tractor. On April 19, 1998 they signed a contract for a 20×80 Harvestor Silo to be built in May. Tony & Peggy’s fourth daughter, Mikayla was born on September 21, 1998. In December of 1998, Peggy stopped working at Bellin Hospital, choosing to be a stay at home mom and help on the farm.
In 2001, they began raising their own heifers (prior to that they were custom raised). Early in 2004 the 2+2 was purchased and, in spring of 2004, Amanda graduated high school. That fall, Amanda attended UW-Platteville to study Animal Science/Pre-Vet.
On April 28, 2005 Peggy’s father, Lawrence, passed away at the age of 89 after a three year battle with cancer. In December of 2005, they began making plans to build a compost barn and parlor. They toured a few compost bedded barns in Minnesota before making their final plans. In 2006, they put up the first 20×100’ Harvestor Silo and also purchased a used Patz TMR mixer.
September 2007 excavation and construction for their compost bedded pack barn, parlor, and manure pit began. The last week of November one side of the barn was ready for cows, but the parlor wasn’t completed. For about one week, they ran cows back & forth from the new barn to the old barn for milking. On December 3, 2007 they milked the cows in their Dairymaster swing 12 parlor for the first time.
In May of 2008, Megan graduated high school and Amanda graduated UW-Platteville, taking a job at Milk Specialties company in Boscobel, Wisconsin. In fall, Megan began school at UW-Madison to study Dairy Science. March of 2009, Amanda came back to the farm as herd manager.
On January 5, 2010, Peggy’s mother Magdalene passed away at the age of 89. Amber graduated high school in May of 2010. In August, Amber started school at Paul Mitchell The School Green Bay for cosmetology. Amanda married Jesse Dolphin on August 28, 2010. On December 20, 2011 Tony & Peggy’s first grandchild was born, as Amanda and Jesse welcomed Jace into the world.
In May of 2012, Megan graduated from UW-Madison and took a job with Genex breeding cows. 2012 was also the year they started plans for the transition barn and a feed pad was made for silage bags. Megan married Kyle Zeman on June 29, 2013.
On January 23, 2015, a second grandson (Jolin) was born to proud parents, Amanda & Jesse. June 2015, the second barn was constructed and the first cows moved in. December 2015 Megan changed career paths, taking a job with Semex as a District Sales Representative. In 2017, Mikayla began attending UW-Platteville (Dairy Science)! On August 25, 2017 Megan and Kyle welcomed their first child, Tony & Peggy’s first granddaughter, Eliza – the newest member of the 7th generation.
In 2018 they are celebrating their farm’s 150th anniversary! To celebrate, they are hosting the 2018 Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm.
Thank you for joining us for Breakfast on the Farm in Kewaunee County – Father’s Day 2018!
A picture’s worth a thousand words – so here are photos spanning 7 GENERATIONS OF JUNIONS!
1st Generation Lambert married Marie Julinne Raison (they had four children). In 1856, the Junion’s left Belgium for America, sailing on Vessel Colorek with their eldest, Xavier (age 12). They settled in the Luxemburg Township in 1868. Our photo album begins with Xavier & Josephine Junion (2nd generation) and their 11 children (3rd gen.)!
Paul Wallace, Jr. is a 4th generation dairy farmer – born and raised on a dairy farm, he has always enjoyed working with cattle and being on the farm.
FAMILY FARM HISTORY The original Wallace Homestead, located in Darboy, began in 1856. Paul’s father (Paul, Sr.), the 3rd of 9 children, was raised there. After working 3-4 years out of high school, he then purchased a small dairy farm in Forest Junction (Brillion area) and operated it while working at the local paper mill. In 1978, when Paul, Jr. was 5 years old, the family relocated to the present-day farm.
Together Paul Jr., his father (Paul, Sr.), mother (Cathy), and sister (Kim) operated the dairy farm. With the closest relatives over an hour away, the family depended on one another, as well as on the relationships built with neighbors and local businesses to continue building the farm. Paul Jr.’s grandfather would travel to the farm to help when time permitted, especially during corn chopping season.
Paul, Jr. used his own money to purchase first registered Holstein for $1,200 when he was 14 years old. He used this animal to start building his herd of registered dairy cattle. To date, he still has 2 descendants of his first Holstein. While working for his parents, Paul helped focus on improving the genetic base of the herd by selecting specific production traits. Paul built his own cattle numbers while still working for his parents and helped increase the initial herd of 50 to the present-day 100.
Paul, Jr. made the initial purchase of cattle and equipment and took over full operation in early 2013. One of the biggest challenges, particularly after the change in ownership, is that Paul, Jr. and family live in Algoma, almost 10 miles from the farm itself. Not being on-site is challenging as they need to rely on his parents for assistance when animals are calving, or if heifers escape. Bad weather also factors in as the cows still need to be milked and fed twice a day regardless of road conditions.
As of early April 2017, the Paul, Jr. family is looking forward to living on-site – as they’ve closed on the house, barn, building, and some acreage. This nearly completes the 2nd phase of the purchase plan. The family is now working hard to complete some renovations to make the farmhouse their own while Paul’s parents are working to complete their new home (north of the operation). Everyone hopes to be settled into their new homes by Fall of this year. While the farm has always been accessible to Paul, Jr. and family, being within steps versus 10 miles will make a big difference!
GROWTH & EDUCATION Paul, Jr. attended Lakeshore Technical College, earning a certificate in Dairy Herd Management. After completion, one of the requirements before he could return to his family’s farm was to work on another dairy for a minimum of one year. He worked for a then neighbor, Mike Pavich. While Paul always had an interest in genetics and breeding, it was here that he gained more knowledge and contacts which helped as he continued to build his herd. Eventually he applied the same ideas to his parents’ herd.
Working together, Paul, Sr. and Paul, Jr. complement one another, as Paul, Sr.’s strengths are crop and field work, while Paul, Jr.’s strengths are cattle. Together with his parents, Paul, Jr. has been able to grow the farm, build the genetic base of the herd, and find more cost-effective ways to operate the dairy.
THE FAMILY Paul, Jr.’s wife Corrina works as a special education aide for the Algoma School District. She has a degree in business and is taking additional coursework to obtain her elementary education licensure. The Wallace’s children attend Algoma High School. Aidan is a junior involved in band, football, basketball, and track. Emersyn is a freshman involved in band, volleyball, basketball and softball. The family are members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Algoma.
Over the last few years, the farm has been able to employ several hard working and reliable individuals to help keep the farm operating efficiently. Paul has confidence in these individuals which allows him more flexibility to attend family events and take occasional time off. Present employees include: Connor Buhr, Max Schoening, Jordan Schiesser, Casey Stangel, Matthew Bluett, and Casey Nelson.
Farming is a family affair. Paul’s dad remains involved on a nearly daily basis. Aidan is a regular fixture at the farm and Corrina and Emersyn contribute as well. Cathy can often be seen cutting lawn or supplying the guys with fresh baked goods. Additionally, Paul’s sister and some her children (Morgan, Bryce & Graham) still help from time to time along with Corrina’s parents Chuck and Jenny Hucek. Two of the dairy’s employees have been involved at the farm since they were little (nephew, Connor and family friend Max). The Wallace kids along with friends and family have shown dairy cattle at the Kewaunee County Fair throughout the years.
The Wallace family says, “we feel blessed to be able to share our farm with family, friends, and the community. The values, strong work ethic and life experiences gained on the farm are like no other. We are honored to be able to contribute to educating others about how dairy farmers contribute to the agriculture industry, support the local economy and give back to the community.”
John grew up on the Pagel Family’s homestead farm purchased by his parents, Carl and Garnet, in 1946—80 acres, 8 cows, 6 pigs and a few chicken. Their 7 children, John being the youngest, were always involved in the farm work. Adopting the typical Wisconsin farm-family work ethic necessary to support their growing family, the farmstead’s land and animals that provided their livelihood. With their progressive dairy practices Carl gradually expanded the dairy to 380 acres and 65 milking cows before his retirement in 1980.
John purchased the Ponderosa Dairy from his parents in 1980, after attending the U.W.-Madison Farm Short Course Program where he was prepared to be a progressive dairy business man as well as a steward of their land and its environment. In 1985 the Ponderosa Dairy experienced a devastating barn fire, losing 48 cows and heifers plus the farmstead’s iconic red barn that had sheltered their dairy herd for 40 years. John rebuilt a larger, efficient “free-stall’ barn to hold 100 cows and a modern milking parlor.
In 2008 John’s family met—Jamie, John Jr., Bryan, Dustin and their spouses—and decided to work together to expand the Ponderosa Dairy business. Each member agreed to specialize in a segment of the farmstead’s management, production and maintenance, ensuring that their Wisconsin dairy remains a leader in progressive and responsible dairy farming in Wisconsin. In 2013 John added another new barn, specifically to house dry cows and a new maternity ward to complete Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy LLC on their homestead property, plus 3,000 calves and heifers on their Ponderosa Calf Ranch. In addition there are 2,300 heifers at Pagel’s Coleman Ponderosa.
Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy hosts more than 7,000 visitors annually who come to their farm to learn about modern, progressive dairying. John’s dream has always been to show consumers about where milk comes from, and to create and market products on the Pagel homestead. In 2014 John purchased Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese and in 2015 opened The Cannery Public Market in downtown Green Bay. Like John has always said, “From The Cow To The Countertop” which sums up his philosophy on just how fresh beef and dairy must be to truly own the title “farm-to-table.” Who knows what the future holds for the Pagel family but one thing is for sure, it will be done with the same passion as in years past.