Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy creates renewable energy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to yearly removing 9,200 vehicles from the road.
The next generation
Purchased in 1946 by Carl and Garnet Pagel, the Pagel family farm started with 80 acres, a few cows, chickens and hogs.
As the young couple’s family grew, so did the dairy farm. Interested in taking over the family business one day, John, the youngest of Carl & Garnet’s seven children, attended UW-Madison’s Farm Short Course Program. After Carl’s retirement in the early 1980’s, John purchased the farm from his father, focusing on innovation and technology.
Carrying on the legacy
Sadly, in 2018, John Pagel and his son-in-law Steve Witcpalek lost their lives in a plane crash. Jamie, J.J. and Bryan, who are third-generation Pagels, carry on their legacy by continuing the operation and working alongside the farm’s 200+ employees.
Today, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC and Dairy Dreams have over 8,500 milking cows and farm 9,000 acres of cropland. The operation has a facility where they create renewable natural gas from cow manure, which allows them to create and utilize energy across the farm. This container is known as a digester and annually can reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 9,200 vehicles from the road.
With the electricity generated from the digester, Pagel’s Ponderosa can almost power the entire neighboring city of Kewaunee, which has a population of 3,000 people. This system helps manage waste products, reduces odor, and eliminates pathogens to improve air quality.
Committed to sustainability
“Pagel’s Ponderosa has a deep-rooted dedication to sustainability,” Jamie Pagel Witcpalek said. “We strive to ensure that the care we take with our farming practices reflects the commitment we have to the environment, our employees, our animals, and our community. It’s all part of meeting the needs of today while securing the future for generations to come.”
Onsite, they also have a farmstead cheese production plant, meaning the cheese is made on the farm with milk from their own cows. This practice allows for total quality control and traceability.
A committed partner
GreenStone Farm Credit Services is proud to have a close relationship with the Wisconsin farm family.
“Right at the top of the Pagel family’s decision-making drivers are the environment and animal wellbeing,” GreenStone vice president of commercial lending Dan Kaufman said. “It’s great supporting a business that’s so dedicated to promoting sustainable practices.”