Brunch on the Farm returns June 23

Shawland Farms host site for breakfast, children’s activities, wagon rides, cows and ice cream
By: 
Kevin Passon
Editor-in-chief

It’s been more than 25 years in the making, but Shawland Farms is returning as the host site for the Shawano County Brunch on the Farm.

Sponsored by the Shawano County Farm Bureau, the brunch and other activities are scheduled for June 23 at W6381 Waukechon Road, Shawano (south of state Highway 29 and east of County Road K).

The event will give guests the opportunity to see a modern dairy farm and have a morning of family fun, according to Christa Hoffman, chairperson of the event planning committee.

In addition to the breakfast of scrambled eggs with diced ham, breakfast sausage, hash browns, cinnamon bread, cheese, yogurt and milk, families can also enjoy wagon rides, children’s activities, ice cream sundaes, farm tours, a petting zoo and live music.

The day starts off with the Dairy Dash and Stroll 5K at 7 a.m., followed by a polka Mass at 7:30 a.m. Brunch will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

At the farm, follow the signs to the parking lot area. This will be in a farm field with rugged conditions. Wagon transportation is available from the field. Handicap parking is available.

Shawland Farms is owned and operated by Kevin, Jim and Matt Ainsworth and families.

“We have 130 cows and about 400 acres for corn and alfalfa,” Matt Ainsworth said.

The three men do most of the work on the farm themselves, other than a few chores that are contracted out, including combining, spraying and manure spreading.

In 2019, the Ainsworths built a new robotic milking facility to support their multi-generation farm. The cows are now milked by a pair of Lely Astronaut A5 robots instead of hired hands.

“We looked at remodeling our old barn. It needed lots of work,” Ainsworth said. “Building a new barn with the robotic system was comparable to fixing the old one. Now, we milk 23 hours a day.”

Like any system, this one is not perfect, but Ainsworth likes it and appreciates the additional free time generated from using the robots.

“We’re pretty happy with it,” he said. “We save a lot of hours.”

When a cow enters the milking boxes, the computer reads the sensor on the animal’s collar. The cow is milked, and all information is stored in a computer program the Ainsworths can review anytime.

A rich traditional of agriculture has been in their family locally for more than 125 years and at the current site since 1957 when, now retired, John Ainsworth and family started the operation.

Brunch on the Farm typically draws a crowd of 4,000 people over the course of four hours. Tickets are available on site (cash only) or can be purchased in advance online at shawanofarmbureau.com or on the Facebook event page.

Ainsworth said the families’ job during the brunch is mostly to be there, talk about their farm and socialize. The rest is handled by the farm bureau and volunteers.

Ticket prices are $10 for anyone 12 and older, $5 for children 4-11 and free for children 3 and younger.

Brunch on the Farm happens rain or shine. All ticket sales are final and non-refundable.

Due to farm biosecurity, no pets are allowed the day of brunch.

Volunteering at Brunch on the Farm pays off for several student organizations. Last year, the Shawano County Farm Bureau presented $5,350 in donations to area agriculture student groups for their participation in the event. A total of 19 organizations received between $50 and $500 for their dedication and service to the annual event.

Student groups are eligible to receive proceeds from the brunch based on the number of volunteers they send. Also, individual students who volunteer are eligible for $500 scholarships for continuing education.

Benefiting from their volunteer efforts in 2023 were the Shawano Ag Ambassadors, Angelica 4-H, Belle Plaine 4-H, Bonduel cross country team, Bonduel FFA, Bowler 4-H, Aces, Clintonville FFA, County Line 4-H, Gresham FFA, Landstad 4-H, Lonesome Pines 4-H, Maple Grove 4-H, Pella Eagles 4-H, Pulaski FFA, Shawano FFA, Tiger Tribe 4-H, Waukechon Wildcats and Wolf River 4-H.

The Shawano County Farm Bureau is a nonprofit organization comprised of farmers and agribusiness professionals focused on policy development and agriculture education in the Shawano community. Brunch one the Farm is an annual event that began in 1984.

Ainsworth said the Shawland Farms hosted the brunch sometime in the 1980s and again around 1998 before being asked to serve as hosts again in 2024.

kpasson@newmedia-wi.com