If everything goes as planned, Central Sands Dairy will start milking cows next spring. The new 3,000-cow dairy will be located about 1.5 hours north of Madison, Wis. in JuneauCounty.

According to Gordie Jones, managing partner and veterinarian for Central Sands Dairy, the new dairy is a partnership with local potato grower Jim Wysocki, Wysocki Produce Farm, Bancroft, Wis., Mike McCloskey and Tim Den Dulk, Fair Oaks Dairy, Fair Oaks, Ind., Tom Peters, consulting nutritionist, and Jones.

The partnership with potato growers is a natural fit, explains Jones. Potatoes must be grown in rotation, and corn silage, alfalfa and rye all work well in that rotation.

The dairy will be similar to Fair Oaks Dairy and apply what the group has learned there in terms of keeping cows healthy, comfortable and productive. Cows will be bedded with sand and each cow will have her own free-stall bed. Cows will be milked 3X in a 72-cow rotary parlor. The dairy will employ 25 to 30 people.

The group applied for a permit in ArmeniaTownship in JuneauCounty on May 10. The township has until October 10 to respond. But given Wisconsin’s new livestock siting law, the group could get the go ahead later this summer. If that happens, construction would start right away. And, with favorable winter conditions the dairy could start milking by next March.

“We think this area of Wisconsin is a great place to site a large dairy,” says Jones. It has low cow density, the ability to grow consistent quality forages under irrigation and room for future growth.

“The one thing I haven’t done yet in my career is be a dairyman,” says Jones. “I’m definitely excited about this opportunity.”