McFarland family

The three generations of the family farm are (from left) Robb Bender and Christine Bender (6th generation), Donna McFarland (4th generation) and Cindy and Peter McFarland (5th generation).

Waunakee native Cindy McFarland (Meffert) and family will host the local on the Farm on Father’s Day weekend, June 15-16 from 7 a.m. to 12:30 pm.

Cindy, daughter of the late Stan and Armella Meffert, grew up on their family dairy farm in Waunakee. She moved to Watertown for a teaching job after she graduated from UW-Madison in 1981.

“I knew I wanted to marry a farmer,” said Cindy. Peter and Cindy met on a blind date and at the end of the night, they returned to his family farm to pull a calf. From that day forward, she knew she had found the one. Cindy and Peter were married in 1985. In 1988, she gave birth to a son and quit teaching and became a full-time farmer.

Peter and Cindy have two children, their oldest, Mark McFarland, is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Waunakee. He and his wife, Regina and their three children, Jackson, Callan and Sophie, reside in Waunakee. Peter and Cindy’s daughter, Christine, recently returned full-time to the family farm.

“We had no idea she (Christine) wanted to come back to the farm,” said Peter McFarland. “We are just thrilled to have her here, we wouldn’t have done any of this without her,” he added.

Christine and her husband, Robb Bender moved to Watertown in the fall of 2016. Christine took over the youngstock, while Robb does the nutrition consulting as he has his own dairy consulting business, GPS Dairy.

The family works hard to try to divide roles at the farm. Currently, Peter is in charge of the crops, equipment and maintenance; Cindy does the all of the bookkeeping, puts sand in the barn twice a week and serves as “project manager”; Christine is responsible for herds work and overseeing their team of employees and public relations; Robb is the nutritionist, assists in data and financial analysis and continues to think “big picture”.

In the summer of 2017, the family added a new transition cow facility and seven-million-gallon lagoon. At the same time, they renovated their existing freestall barn and converted it to tunnel ventilation.

They are currently milking 650 Holstein cows three times per day in a double 12 parallel parlor. They raise their calves up to 6 months of age and then they go to a heifer grower until about 30 days prior to calving. Far-off dry cows are also housed off-site. McFarland’s run about 1,000 acres of rented and owned land. They have nine full-time.

The Watertown Agri-Business Club Dairy Breakfast will feature an all you care to eat breakfast including scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, cheese, milk, orange juice, coffee and ice cream! In addition, you will have the opportunity to tour a modern dairy barn, birthing area and petting zoo! There will be live music featuring the Gary Beal Band and over 100 raffle prizes! The breakfast will be held at McFarlandale Dairy located at N302 County Road K, Watertown, WI 53098. Guests are encouraged to park at Farm and Fleet as the farm is located one mile west of town. Shuttle buses will be available both days. For more information, visit their website at www.watertownagri or like them on Facebook at Watertown Agri-Business Club.

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