Farmers are the small-town heroes that keep our communities moving forward. In our series Harvesting Heroes, we celebrate ag workers, whose hard work and innovation makes a difference. Each month we’ll tell the story of a Harvesting Hero and their contributions to agriculture in our region.

In this month’s Harvesting Heroes, we visit Roehl (RAIL) Acres, a family farm that made a switch from traditional farming to technological farming and will now be hosting Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in July.

Dennis Roehl: I’m Dennis Roehl and welcome to Roehl Acres. Here at Roehl Acres, we milk about 230 cows, and we run about 800 acres. We have four robotic milkers. Each one can milk right around 60 to 65 cows. We were founded in 1967, which is when my parents bought this farm. We farmed together until 2005 when I got married and my wife and I took the farm over.

Devon Roehl:  My main responsibilities, usually feeding cows, bedding, and getting the cows out from the pasture. Baggin, raking. We all do it together most of the time.

Suzie Roehl: I think a family farm is a nice opportunity for kids. They’re out on the farm, they learn a good work ethic. They know what they need to get out there, and they need to take care of the animals out there because that is our income and that’s what brings the food to the table. And I think it teaches them they need to work for the paycheck.

Dennis Roehl: I’m very proud of my children as they are. Already just working out here, they have confidence that they know they can do the job. They know the job has to get done. They’ve gained the confidence that I don’t think you could get anywhere else. I actually think we are a great example of tradition, meeting technology because we were traditional. Our other barn that we were working in was a stanchion barn. And as time goes on, stanchions wear out and we wanted some new technology and a little bit less labor. We started to look at robots probably about five years ago already, and it was just a long, hard decision on whether to spend that money. And we finally came to that conclusion and said, yes, we’re going to do it.

Suzie Roehl: For me, where tradition and technology meet is just the old standard and taking pride in how we’re doing our business, but bringing in the new technology, that makes it a little bit easier because the technology of the robots is definitely going to help make it more economical for a family farm to continue their business as they are. Dennis has a lot of pride in his business, and he really wants to showcase the farm and what we can do here in Clark County and in Loyal and bring people in.

I actually think that this is a tribute to my parents; that we are having farm technology. We’re seeing what their hard work and our hard work have all come to fruition.