Editor’s note: I’ve had the great pleasure of watching Nicole Wiswell grow from toddler to stunning young woman, so it was a treat to be invited to her recent high school graduation party, held on her grandparents’ sprawling and beautiful polled hereford farm. The family has been successfully showing beef cattle for generations. Sadly, I’d come without a camera, which is when our young Nicole said, “I’ve got a camera; here you go.” And here we do go on a journey to the land where show cattle are raised.
Watching the generational baton travel parent-to-child is its own reward for farming families. Hard-working and determined, they pass these traits onto their offspring; their youth, their most prized crop. Recent high school graduate, Nicole Wiswell, is no different. From her radiant smile shines the hopes and dreams of her family, and the future of Wisconsin farming. While she will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall, she will continue to participate with the family business. She is a seasoned and successful competitor showing polled hereford beef cows.
In the family’s show barn, cows learn to stay tied for several hours a day. It’s a skill needed for the time they’ll one day spend in the show barns at the county fair.
No, that’s not a cow, but it is a creature with a job: the farm’s two donkeys are used to teach cattle how to lead. One halter’s a cow and ponies (attaches) it to the donkey and the already educated animal (the donkey) patiently parades about with the cow calmly by its side. It’s another skill set in need of development when bringing show stock safely off-farm to meet the public.
Numerous head of beef cattle lumber about the sprawling facility. Lounging in the sun and snacking on hay loom high among favorite pastimes.
This mother and calf enjoy life with a scenic view: in the background one sees the rolling hills and water-filled valley indicative of land surrounding Elkhorn, Wis.
Scenic vistas, highlighted by cattle, are a constant theme at Wiswell Farm.
Pride in livestock goes hand-in-hand with pride in facility, but in the long term, this story is really one of a combined respect for the land and its creatures, as well as the harmony that can be struck when one tends with care to both. The Wiswell family is currently building a website with hopes of marketing product. Here is a link to the Wisconsin Hereford Association’s membership page. Contact information for Wiswell Farm is available there.