Hanke Farms Inc

Keeping the next generation involved because nobody can do it by themselves. That is where it started for Hanke Farms Inc. a Dairy and Cash Crop operation in Sheboygan Falls, WI. Jack and Jim Hanke always liked milking cows and learned early on that if you take good care of the cows, the cows will take good care of you...same with the land. Milking cows before school each morning, was part of growing up for them. Their dad and mom, Elroy and Marilyn, were very supportive of their twin boys. They encouraged Jack and Jim when they expanded the family operation and doubled their herd, while still in high school. 

Established almost 100 years ago in 1919 by William and Meta Hanke, Jack and Jim are looking forward to celebrating the centennial of the farm once owned by their grandparents. It is now operated by the brothers, their wives, Dorene and Bonnie, along with their kids, Heidi & Doug Taylor, Jason & Erin Hanke, and Tamara & Jonathan Anhalt. “Dorene and Bonnie, along with our kids, do so much on the farm to make sure everything gets done,” the brothers said. “You need good family and employees around.” Ownership of this farm has been in the Hanke family for 4 generations now and they hope to keep it going for the next one. Jack said his main and most important crop is his grandchildren. Family is the most important thing to make time for. Jim agreed and said he enjoys the time he has to watch his grandkids play sports.

It is all about the cattle and the land for these farmers with their positive attitudes and good mindset. Being a part of the agriculture industry gives them the opportunity to take care of the land. “Just owning it doesn’t mean anything, you have to take care of it,” Jim said. “Knowing whatever we produce here, we put our total effort into producing,” Jack added. He enjoys working with the cattle and said they raise all of their replacement calves and heifers on the farm. They do all of their own feed harvest, except for big bales, and planting. Jim takes charge when it comes to his favorite job of packing bunkers. He likes to make sure it gets down correctly.

Jack & Jim sing in the church chorus. They each belong to a Town Board; Jack is with the Town of Plymouth and Jim, the Town of Sheboygan Falls. Jack is a Country Visions Cooperative Board Director. He is a strong believer and supporter of the cooperative system. “It is what makes so much more possible at the modern farm,” he said. “They are a huge factor to a farm’s success year-in and year-out by making products, services and equipment available to the cooperative group. Most farms would not be able to afford these as independent purchasers.”

Thank you to Jack and Jim for your dedication to your farm, appreciation for your families and employees, and your love for agriculture. We enjoyed having you tell your story for this week’s Farmer Friday. We wish you continued success.

Farmer Friday...post #39. To show our appreciation to our producer members, Country Visions Cooperative will be giving a snapshot look of our customers and their operations in this feature each Friday