Fire Not Enough to Stop Wisconsin Dairy Family

August 31, 2016 02:34 PM

Farmers will face several setbacks in their career, whether that be bad weather, prices, markets, or a variety of other instances. 

A Wisconsin family’s dairy farm faced a major hurdle when the cow barn caught fire and burned to the ground. 

At 3 p.m. on August 4, 2015, the West Croix dairy barn caught on fire in the haymow after a spark from the conveyor belt. The barn lit quickly, giving farmer Chris VanDyk five minutes to get the cows out of the barn. The cattle were safely taken to a neighboring farm around 4 or 5 p.m.

The only loss was the barn.

“I think when the barn did finally collapse, I was probably about 30 feet away, still trying to hold the cattle back,” said Chris.

But a fire wasn’t going to stop the VanDyks from doing what they love.

“I knew I wanted to keep going,” said Chris. “I like working with the cattle.”

During the rebuilding process, the top priority was making sure the cows stay comfortable in a new building. 

“We had a pretty good idea how we wanted to rebuild,” said John, Chris’ dad. “We wanted to stay with registered cattle; they’ve been good to us. We kept cow comfort in mind.”

The comfort stalls give them more room to get up or down. The VanDyks even put in new mattresses and an extra layer of foam for the cows to feel like queens. 

“We pulled together, and I think we’re coming back stronger than ever,” said Chris. 

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