Kansas dairy producer strives to bring his farm out of bankruptcy by finding additional funding streams.
PHIL ANDERSON, The Topeka Capital-Journal
TECUMSEH, Kan.— As he led a tour at his 106-acre family dairy farm during a fall festival Saturday morning, Tim Iwig was cautiously optimistic about the future of his business just east of Topeka.
Iwig, who is striving to bring his farm out of bankruptcy by finding additional funding streams, said an investor — a woman from the Topeka area — recently came forward with $250,000.
That financial commitment is helping Iwig breathe a little easier.
But monetary challenges remain, and Iwig said he needs another individual or "a group of investors" to step forward with an additional quarter-million dollars to get the business in position to branch out with additional retail outlets, which he said is the key to the farm's long-term viability.
"We plan to open three more stores," Iwig said. "We're looking at west Topeka, west Lawrence, Overland Park and Manhattan."
Some of the new dairy stores could incorporate such features as locally grown produce and meat, as well as drive-through lanes for customer convenience.
The multigeneration Iwig family farm has been raising cows since 1910. In 2005, it branched out into processing and bottling milk and selling it at local retail stores.
Iwig said his farm's milk products are worth the extra costs, as they are produced in small batches with a low-heat pasteurization process. The result, he said, is tastier milk products. Iwig's dairy sells the milk in reusable milk bottles, which also contribute to the taste.
For several years, Iwig's milk products were offered at larger grocery stores, such as Dillons. However, Iwig's products now are sold exclusively at three small outlets run by the business.
A store in Lawrence was closed after customers complained it was out of the way and had poor parking access.