Small Towns: Meadow Brook Farms in Francis Creek

A fifth-generation farm is thriving as we continue our look at family farms for June Dairy Month
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2023 at 2:31 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Our weekly Small Towns series continues this week with a focus on farming.

To mark June Dairy Month, we are visiting a local farm each week to share that farm’s unique story. This week in Small Towns, we stop by Meadow Brook Farms in Manitowoc County.

On 1,100 acres, just a few miles east of Francis Creek, Mitch Kappelman learned a lot of life lessons at an early age.

“I think growing up on the farm teaches you a lot of things, you see life and death early, you learn hard work, patience, perseverance,” explains Mitch.

Becoming the fifth generation on the family farm is a path Mitch always knew he wanted to follow.

“Something that my generation looks back on is our early email addresses or AOL names or whatever, and mine was dairy farmer, since I was little,” says Mitch with a smile.

After graduating from UW-Madison with a dairy science degree, Mitch became a partner with his parents in 2015.

Another partner soon followed, his wife McKenzie who had worked for nine years as a dental hygienist.

The two married last summer.

“It was not something I was super passionate about as a child even though I grew up on a farm, but seeing how passionate Mitch is about this really, really is what created my love for dairy farming,” explains McKenzie.

Overseeing all aspects of daily operations, which includes 450 milking cows and 950 total head, Mitch wears a number of hats around the farm.

But does have one favorite.

“My main passion is the genetics side of the cattle, I love breeding cattle and making the best generation of cattle to make all of our lives easier here,” says Mitch.

McKenzie, meanwhile, quickly found her role at Meadow Brook Farms.

“I do all the bill paying, I do all the payroll, I do the schedule, Mitch likes to tell people I manage the people and Mitch manages the cows,” says McKenzie.

While it doesn’t happen overnight, Mitch says it’s amazing to see the advances in technology from generation to generation.

He points to animal care as just one example.

“I think in the future there’s going to be a lot of really big dairies and I think there will be smaller ones, and I think we’re going to see more farm to consumer, so I think the farms that can do more of that can capture more profit, and people want to meet the farmer, they want to see the cows, they want to see where it comes from,” says Mitch.

It’s a way life Mitch and McKenzie say they wouldn’t trade for the world.

“I love that I married into this, and that Mitch and I get to carry this one hopefully to our future children someday and teach them the life lessons that Mitch had growing up, you can’t get that anywhere,” says McKenzie.

“It’s cool to think about the history that’s here and how it’s transformed over generations,” adds Mitch.