Pictured: (L to R) are Glen Jacobson, Dan and Lisa Chapin, and John Schendivy, the creamery’s senior field representative.
Several farmers were recognized at Westby Cooperative Creamery’s 119th annual meeting this month. The creamery’s farmer-owners enjoyed lunch, recapped 2022, and celebrated the quality award recipients: Glen Jacobson, Dan and Lisa Chapin, and James and Janine Hartman.
Additionally, this meeting allows farmer-owners to vote on their board of directors. Ben Klinkner, Donna Leum, Jon Levendoski, Andy Olson, Gerald Vesbach and Jerad Fleming all retained seats on the board. This year, the creamery welcomed a new member, Seth Byom of Galesville.
Byom has been farming his whole life, and a few years ago he decided to take over his uncle Dan’s farm just up the hill from his father’s farm in Galesville. Byom says he always enjoyed his time spent helping on the farm growing up, so he knew he wanted to keep the legacy going. Byom Organic Farms has been a part of Westby Cooperative Creamery since 2008 when Westby first began its organic product line. However, the farm has been in the family for roughly 129 years.
More About The Board
Levendoski is a fifth generation farmer on a 50-cow dairy farm that he co-operates with his parents near Genoa. His wife, Jackie, teaches third grade at Blessed Sacrament School in La Crosse, and they have three kids who love helping on the farm. Their family’s owned the farm since 1876 and has shipped milk to Westby Cooperative Creamery since 1969.
Fleming farms with his family near Westby. His wife Stacey teaches preschool in Westby, and they have four children, Hallie, Jackson, Bennett and Brielle. Their family milks 100 organic cows, farms around 600 acres, and they enjoy hunting, fishing and UTV rides in their spare time. He’s also an assistant football coach at Westby High School and serves on an advisory board for Compeer Financial.
Leum co-owns and operates Leum Jerseys with her husband Tommy near Westby. They have 126 acres and 53 registered Jersey cows with additional young stock. They’ve shown cattle at local, state and national shows and have been genomic testing for the strategic plan of herd improvement. In addition to being the Westby Cooperative Creamery Board of Directors vice president, she’s a Vernon County Fair
Board director, Our Savior’s Cemetery Association secretary/treasurer and Town of Viroqua town clerk.
Vesbach is a 4th generation farmer that runs a dairy farm with his son, Trent, and wife, Connie, in Liberty Pole. They milk 70 cows, Jerseys and Brown Swiss, farm 650 acres and run an 80-head beef herd. Three of their farms are certified organic, though their milk is conventional. Vesbach loves being outdoors, around cattle and being in agriculture. In his free time, he likes antique tractors, especially Minneapolis Moline and Olivers, and going to antique shows.
Olson owns and operates Prime Pastures Organic Dairy near Lewiston, Minn., along with his wife, Kim, and her parents, Dale and Carmene Pangrac. They have three children — Mallory, Gavin and Amelia. They use robotic technology to milk 150 crossbred cows, and they rotationally graze all their animals from two-months old through milking age. They also raise organic crops on 900 acres and feed it to their herd and sell it as organic grain.
Klinkner is a sixth generation farmer on his family’s organic dairy farm outside Cashton. He and his wife, Erin, have four children, Jack, Anna, Noah and Abe. Their dairy herd consists of 60 milk cows and 60 heifers and calves. They also farm about 300 acres of hay, corn and pasture. He is honored to have served as a Westby Creamery director since 2018.