Small, but full of heart…life on a small farm
Tucked away in a small valley just west of Ontario, Wisconsin on Hwy 33, the Eness family might run a very small farm, but they do it with a lot of heart and love.
Keeping close to his family roots, Luke Eness and his wife Kayla, since 2010 have run their twenty plus acre dairy business across the road from Luke’s father’s farm that he grew up on. “I’ve been farming my whole life.”, he said. Luke is grateful that his father Tor is right next to his farm, and admitted that they help each other out all the time.
A small dairy operation, the Eness’ are milking 15 cows and have 6 that are dried up and in different stages of calving and freshening.
While wife Kayla works a job away from the farm in addition to farming, Luke pulls double duty as a farmer and devoted father to the couples one-year old daughter Emberly. “It gives me a chance to watch my daughter while Kayla goes to work.”, he said.
With daycare so expensive, he stressed that he takes care of his daughter just as good as someone else can. “It does slow things down a little bit and changes the way you do your day to day work.”, pointing out that his main focus is always on his daughter’s care, safety, and well-being.
Growing originally growing hay, last year’s flood wiped out their fields and Eness turned to growing corn. In addition to crops being lost, his skid steer was damaged by flood waters, but not to be deterred, and dedicated to his love of farming, Eness took apart the machinery and rebuilt it, getting it running again.
About last year’s storms and flooding that saw the banks of nearby Brush creek over flow he said, “It really came up hard and fast. Surprisingly in the time it took me to gather up my cows, the water made it up from Brush creek and across my fields up to the highway here. It was really bad.”
Luke stated that Brush creek has seen a lot of changes since the flooding, and shared that it got wider, deeper in spots, and straightened it out a bit. Unfortunately, the flooding also brought a lot of garbage in, including anything that was near the creek prior to the storms.
Originally from Mississippi, Luke’s wife said she loves the farm. “I love the work and the animals. It is a lot of work but it is very rewarding to be in the country.”
On the flooding, she said, “It was awful, but it left the land even more beautiful.”
Grateful for where she lives, Kayla shared that she loves her drive to LaFarge where she works, noting that the drive through the Kickapoo Valley is “just beautiful”.
“The people here are really nice and friendly and welcoming. Luke has lived here his whole life, so it’s just home to him, but to me, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else besides the Kickapoo area.”, she said.