DEER PARK, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – First News at Nine is proud to bring to you our newest franchise, Harvesting Heroes. During the upcoming harvest season, we will be airing a series of features on local farmers throughout our viewing area, all building towards a half-hour harvest special on FOX 25/48 called Hometown Harvest.
We will air that special in November. Harvesting Heroes will give you an in-depth look at the places and faces behind the produce in your home, a fixture of the Wisconsin economy, farming faces new challenges and enjoys new innovations every year. Here’s Denton Postlewait with our second Harvesting Hero.
“My name is Leslie Svacina and I own Cylon Rolling Acres. We’re a grass-based livestock farm in Deer Park, Wisconsin. We raise goats on pasture for the purpose of meat,” said owner of Cylon Rolling Acres, Leslie Svacina.
When deciding what to cook, many of us remember the old commercial. ‘Beef its what’s for dinner.” However, one western Wisconsin farm is looking to change that.
Svacina said, “We got into raising goats from the sheer fact of opportunity. There is not availability or at least consistent availability of goat meat in the united states. Most of our meat, goat meat, if you can find it in the grocery store is imported from Australia.”
With a growing demand for goat meat and an expanding customer base, Leslie Svacina says her farm is continuing to grow.
“We bought the farm about 10 years ago and it took a couple of years to get things set up with new pasture fence, updating our buildings. Over time, our farm has really grown in terms of heard numbers but also in expanding and growing our business,” said Svacina.
Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Svacina says she developed a love of all things agriculture. But starting a farm from scratch is not easy.
Svacina said, “Getting started in this business required land, whether you own or rent it and that is an expense adventure. It required assets so machinery, livestock, that’s been a really big hurdler for us getting into the business.”
Svacina manages the farm mostly on her own, with the help of her husband.
“I was working full time with my off-farm job, then working half time and now I’m managing the farm full time to really have that full focus on it. My husband, he has his own job. Like a lot of married couples, you’re both employed. He’s a weekend, evening, vacation farmer,” said Svacina.
What makes Cylon Rolling Acres so unique, is the way the goats are raised. The goats rationally graze around the farm, which Svacina says helps the goats and the land stay healthy.
“It’s really mimicking the movement of the bison long ago; we’re farming with nature. I really see that in terms of being pasture based,” said Svacina.
Although she has no farming background, it is not surprising that she ended up as a farmer.
Svacina said, “In high school I had the opportunity to take an agriculture education course and join FFA. That really got me interested in agriculture. My parents are small business owners, so it doesn’t surprise me now that I own my own business that happens to be a farm.”
Svacina says while getting started in this industry has been challenging at times – the future is bright for Cylon Rolling Acres.
“In terms of continuing our growth, my plans are to continue to grow our herd. We are still in the growth stages of getting to a place where, at least my first plan of where I want the herd to be to in terms of serving customers with meat,” said Svacina.
As the demand for goat meat continues to rise, Svacina says Cylon Rolling Acres will continue to produce high-quality products to both old and new customers.
“Really the most rewarding piece is to work with our customers and see them enjoy the meat that we produced here on our farm and see them enjoy that on their plate at home,” said Svacina.
In Deer Park, Denton Postlewait, First News at Nine.