Salentine family shines a light on cow comfort
By Kana Coonce
KEWAUNEE – On June 18, Wisconsinites are set to flock to Salentine Homestead Dairy in Luxemburg for Kewaunee County’s annual “Breakfast on the Farm, where they will get a look at “cow comfort.”
Originally purchased by Ben and Marie Salentine in 1920, family farm Salentine Homestead Dairy has passed through four generations, now owned by Jenny and Josh Salentine in partnership with Josh’s father, Jim, and with the help of Jenny and Josh’s three children: Megan, who is currently attending college; Caleb, a junior in high school; and Molly, a seventh grader.
Before passing away last fall, Josh’s mother did the farm’s book work in her retirement.
Though the Salentines were originally set to host Breakfast on the Farm in 2020 to celebrate 100 years of farming, COVID-19 put a damper on their plans.
Since the next couple of years had already been booked by other area farms, the Salentines were placed first on the list for the next batch of bookings, which span through 2026.
Now, the family looks forward to showing the county what they do on their farm.
“I think, you know, while families are here, it’ll be great for them to take the tour,” said Jenny. The tour will provide details about the operation of their dairy, “but also agriculture in general. Most people don’t know where their food comes from” or what life looks like for the people who produce it.
“We hope everyone brings their dad to the farm,” said Josh, noting that the breakfast takes place on Father’s Day.
Speaking of fathers, Josh credits “Dad” with originally focusing the family’s attention on one of the farm’s primary tenants, which the Salentines refer to as “cow comfort.”
“A happy cow is a productive cow, and a happy cow is a comfortable cow,” said Josh. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, his father Jim “set the motion… by implementing a TMR mixer for the herd.”
Now, Salentine Homestead Dairy’s 300 cows enjoy “good quality feed,” kiln sawdust mattresses, fans and sprinklers designed to turn on when the temperature hits over 70 degrees.
In an interview with WiscoAg news, Megan stated that the farm’s dairy primarily goes to BelGioioso Cheese, whose headquarters are based in Green Bay.
Amidst preparations for the breakfast, Josh has been planting soybeans and corn.
“It was a phenomenal spring for soil conditions,” he said. “Unfortunately, that phenomenal spring turned into a dry spring. Hopefully we get some rain.” If the weather forecast is to be believed, Josh’s wish will have come true the day after this interview took place.
Once the breakfast is complete, Jenny said that the younger Salentines “are looking forward to spending some time in the pool.”
Then, in July, they will present their hogs and dairy cows at the Kewaunee County Fair. Come August, they will do it all over again at the State Fair.
“The kids have fun” showing off the animals that they worked hard to raise, said Josh.
Kewaunee County’s annual Breakfast on the Farm will be held on Sunday, June 18 at Salentine Homestead Dairy, located at E1669 Co Rd A, Luxemburg, WI 54217. The event kicks off at 7 a.m. with a “polka mass” — an actual Catholic mass accompanied by a polka band — with breakfast served from 8 until noon.
In addition to breakfast, the event will include a petting zoo, horse- and tractor-drawn wagon rides, a kids tent, bounce house, live music and entertainment, an antique tractor show and farm tours. The event is sponsored by the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion, a non-profit organization consisting of agricultural and dairy farming families from Kewaunee County.