It’s my honor to introduce our good friends Matt (age 41), his brother Joe (age 33) and Joe’s wife Margaret (age 29) Engel of Hampshire, IL. Joe and Margaret have two children and are in the process of becoming foster parents. Matt (my brother) and I met the Engel’s while showing at the Illinois State Fair a “few” years ago. One of my favorite State Fair memories comes from when we tied our cows across from each other and involves the now famous blender. When I lived in Northern IL, I would head out to Luck-E when I starting missing home and our cows. The Engel’s are the hard-working people behind the very impressive Luck-E Holsteins (read more here). Luck-E Holsteins is the home to 160 Registered Holstein milk cows. They produce conventional milk with all their cows housed in sand freestalls with access to pasture (spring through fall), and are milked in a 38 cow tiestall barn with 19 milk machines. Milk from their cows is sold to Mid-West Dairymens Company as fluid milk, but a cheese plant is being built.
Growing up, the Engel’s were all involved in 4-H. Matt and Joe attended University of Wisconsin Madison Farm and Industry Short Course and Margaret studied Business Administration at Northern Illinois University. Joe’s favorite food is bacon but he loves to have milk with almost every meal and of course ice cream with desert. On Thanksgiving, I hope they have the opportunity to enjoy both apple and pumpkin pie with ice cream!
Joe’s Story in his own words:
When did you start farming? Matt and I both became partners with our parents on the farm at age 18 although we had already spent all our time on the farm since we could walk. Matt and I both decided to dairy farm because we love cows and our passion for the art of Holstein genetics.
Has your farm changed since you became involved? Since we became involved in the farm, our facility has changed significantly with the addition of two freestall barns, a heifer shed, hay shed, and tripling our number of milk machines. Technology has also changed the way do things. Today we are able to input and access cow records into our management software (PCDart) cow side with the use of a smart phone or Tablet. These records include vaccines, treatments, calvings, milk quality, income over feed cost and much more. This is a very useful tool for insuring food safety, animal health, and efficient management. Also, with social media, email and other connectivity at our fingertips we able to stay in constant contact with our customers. With over half our business being the sales of genetics, this is very important.
Who is your favorite cow? Our favorite cow is Luck-E Advent Kandie-Red. She represents just the cow we thrive to breed for and love to spend time with. A gentle giant, Kandie is a sweetheart to work with but a strong cow with a super aggressive appetite. Kandie’s family has been on our farm for over 30 years. Klassy, Kandie’s grandmother, was my first really good show cow and really fueled my passion for cows. This year at the 2014 International Red & White Show Kandie was named Senior Champion, Best Udder of Show, Champion Bred & Owned, & Reserve Grand Champion.
What is your greatest achievement thus far? Our greatest achievement so far is having developed cow families and a farm name that are internationally known and respected. Our goals for the future are to continue to develop these cow families, have a growing presence in the AI industry and most importantly provide the future generations the great opportunity to work with and love dairy cows.
What’s one question you always receive about what you do? “What about hormones in milk? Is milk safe?” I explain the safety of milk but then I strongly encourage people not to just take my word for it but to look up peer reviewed literature. There are a lot of opinions from a lot of people on almost any topic on the internet, and some of those people have fancy initials behind their name. But if you really want the FACTS on milk, look for peer reviewed information.
What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do? We want the public to know just how much we love and care for our animals. It very important for people to understand that the better we take care of our animals, the better they take care of us. Our entire livelihood depends on ensuring our animals have the best care and comfort available.
Joe, thank you for taking time to participate in our “Thirty Days of Dairy” series. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our blog (no spam, just an email when we post a new blog) so you don’t miss any posts.
Entire “Thirty Days of Dairy” Series:
Sarah & Andy Birch – Derby, VT – the dairy farmers that were my inspiration for the 30 Days of Dairy!
Melissa Collman – Boring, OR – an organic dairy farmer from the West Coast!
Macy Sarbacker – Belleville, WI – a blogger, editor and dairy farmer from American’s Dairyland!
Karen Bohnert – East Moline, IL – a very talented writer, Mom and Jersey lover from my state!
Lisa Myers – Hamstead, MD – one of my best friends that moved back home to run their dairy!
Rebecca Schlehlein – Platteville, WI – a dedicated farm employee that loves her Brown Swiss!
Heather Moore – Maquoketa, IA – Special Events Coordinator turned Dairy Farmer!
Katie Dotterer-Pyle – Union Bridge, MD – Spanish teacher and dairy farmer that makes sure her cows enjoy their stay!
Brent Pollard – Rockford, IL – an innovative dairy farmer who loves to tinker with things.
Krista Stauffer – Washington – a 1st generation dairy farmer and very talented AGvogate for the dairy industry!
Diane Loew – Byron, MI – a writer, blogger and dairy farmer from Michigan!
Nicole Fletcher – Southampton, MA – a Cabot Creamery dairy that milks Holsteins & Jersey’s!
Elinor Opitz – Maple Lake, MN – a young lady just starting her Ayrshire dairy!
Alise Sjostrom – Brooten, MN – one of the readheads behind Redhead Creamery!
Tara McIntosh – Ontario, Canada – our only dairy farmer featured from Canada!
Jenna Kilgus – Fairbury, IL – a Jersey dairy farmer that bottles their own homogenized milk!
Will Gilmer – Sulligent, AL – our only dairy farmer from the “south”!
Gene Zimmerman – Colby, WI – our only dairy goat farmer featured this month!
Darleen Moore-Sichley – Oregon – a Mom, AGvocate and Gurnsey dairy farmer!
Michelle Eilenstine – Mountain Grove, MO – a dairy farmer & University of Missouri grad!
Jenni Tilton-Flood – Clinton, Maine – a Cabot Creamery dairy that milks 3400 Holsteins!
Kalli Ehrhardt – Baldwin, MD – A Mom and dairy farmer!
Craig Swenson – River Fall, WI – a dairy farmer who loves his red & whites!
Katie Harris – Washington – a mom & dairy farmer from Western Washington!
Annaliese Wegner – Ettrick, WI – the Modern-day Farm Chick!
Morgan Kliebenstein – Darlington, WI – a dairy farmer, Genex employee, Mom & wife!
Matt & Joe Engel – Hampshire, IL – the brother behind Luck-E Holsteins!
Stephanie Aves – Popular Grove, IL – a dairy farmer & agriculture teacher!
Beverly Donovan – Benton, Maine – a dairy farmer & accountant!
Sadie Frericks – Melrose, MN – a dedicated AGvocate, dairy farmer, mom & wife!
Greg Schulte – Darlington, WI – the cheesemaker at Brunkow Cheese!
Katie Deslippe – St Mary Ontario – a young lady that loves everything about dairy!
Carrie Mess – Lake Mills, WI – the well-known AGvocate Dairy Carrie!
For a listing of all the 30 Days Bloggers that Holly Spangler rounded up, visit here.