But these farms are progressively going under due to rising production costs while milk prices remain stagnant. One family in Monroe County provides a unique chance to experience what a real dairy farm is like to offset those costs.
Just south of Sparta in the Town of Leon, the Knutson Family rents out three cabins to tourists and folks who want to see a Wisconsin dairy farm. Using Airbnb and other websites, Patty and Glenn Knutson book the “Grapevine Log Cabins” to people from all over.
And most guests can’t get over how this farm has stayed true to what a stereotypical family farm used to be…
“A lot of your older people grew up on a farm or their grandparents, they were out there and so to them this is just like this is how I remember a farm is supposed to look like, “Glenn Knutson said. “And they just love it. To see the cattle up close, and the barn, and they just said it brings back so many fond memories for ’em.”
Glenn and Patty run the farm with their son Cody and his family. Guests are free to roam about during their stay and watch the Knutson’s do their morning chores. Some guests get up early to watch the cows get milked, others have been able to help bottle feed the calves or see calves being born, which is a special treat.
Now while visitors are amazed by the quiet surroundings and starlit nights, family run dairies like this one are getting harder to find. Glenn explains that his farm operates with 45 head of cattle producing 300 gallons of milk per day. And that’s the way they have done it since his family started farming while many of his neighbors did the same thing.
“Everybody, any barn that you see along the road or on the ridge, everybody had cows,” Glenn said. “But basically we are the only family farm in the town of Leon. There’s one other big herd that’s got over 3000 cows but we are the only family farm left in Leon.”
A testament to all the hard work and pride the Knutson’s have put into the farm since 1968. And having the cabin rentals is critical in keeping the farm going, and maybe inspire future farmers to join them.
For more information on how to book a stay at Grapevine Log Cabins, check out their Airbnb listing here: Grapevine Log Cabins – Farm stays for Rent in Sparta, Wisconsin, United States (airbnb.com)