Expanding Rock County Dairy Farm Offers Boost To Local Economy

A new Rock County dairy farm is expecting 500 cows to arrive on Wednesday as the operation works toward producing more jobs as well as more milk.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau said once Rock Prairie Dairy reaches its full capacity, it will be the largest dairy farm in the county.

Manager T.J. Tuls, a third generation dairy farmer, said the farm is expected to reach its capacity of 5,200 cows in April of 2012.

“Our cows have radio frequency ID tags,” said Tuls. “We have evaporative cooling systems like you see on the sidelines at football games. Our cows walk into a parlor. We use computers and handheld devices to keep track of our cattle throughout the barns.”

Construction of the 160-acre property is almost complete, Tuls said. The family farm which is about 10 miles southeast of Janesville could bring a boost to the local economy as it continues to expand.

“We’ve hired about 20 people so far and total staff on the farm at full capacity it will be about 45 employees,” Tuls said.

About 2,500 cows have already made the nine-hour journey from Nebraska to Wisconsin.

“Cows have adapted really well,” Tuls said. “You lose a couple pounds of milk when you bring them up on a trip like that, but they got milked right before they left and almost right away when they got here so they really didn’t get thrown off their schedule.

Tuls said people have been driving by to see the new farm. He said they plan to have an open house at the end of next summer for folks to check out their operation.