Growth Has Been This Dairyman’s Goal Since Childhood

Growing up on a century farm near Lancaster, Wisconsin, Josh Bailie learned the value of hard work and determination at a young age.  He’s been milking ever since he could reach the pipeline, which was in sixth grade at the age of 12.  And, it’s all he’s ever wanted to do.

“I’ve always wanted to be a dairy farmer.  It’s just in my blood!” says this third generation dairyman, with a grin that stretches as far as the meadow behind his milk house.

Josh and Terry Bailie pose for a quick photo after morning milking.

Josh bought his own milk cows nearly three years ago when his dad decided he wanted to step back from day-to-day farm management.  Today Josh farms in partnership with his parents, Terry and Sue Bailie, and milks on their home place.  Although they help each other as needed, they each have their own areas of responsibility: Terry focuses more on crop production and Josh manages the dairy.  Sue lends a helping hand in each aspect of the operation.

In addition to milking about 60 Holstein cows, the Bailies have a 60- to 80-head mostly Hereford beef operation.  Their Holstein bull calves also become part of the beef operation, while the heifer calves become replacements in their dairy herd.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of my family’s operation,” says Josh, who worked as a carpenter in Madison for five years before returning to his hometown where he was continuing the trade.  “Although I was working outside as a carpenter, I didn’t find quite the same enjoyment as I do now that I’m working outside on my own farm.  Owning land and cattle is a dairy farmer’s dream, but it’s so capital intensive.  It’s hard to cash flow all of that when you’re just getting started.”

Escalating input costs make cash-flowing difficult enough, but thankfully milk premiums are strong today for high quality milk.  Bailie’s Grade A milk is sold to Dean Foods, where it’s processed into bottled milk.

Maintaining high milk yield results in more income, potential profit, and feed efficiency, according to a recent article in Hoard’s Dairyman. And, the Bailies focus on efficiency and productivity.

“My favorite part of dairying is taking care of the animals, which is key to productivity,” says Josh.  “When our cows are in good health and are comfortable in their environment, they produce more milk.”

Producing more milk and growing the herd is all a part of Josh’s plan for the future.  “I believe dairying is one of the most honorable ways to make a living and to raise a family,” he says.

Fortunately, his fiancée shares this sentiment.  Jennifer Sigg was raised on a dairy near Hollandale, Wisc., and she shares Josh’s love for milking.  The two have a goal of increasing their dairy herd to 70 cows, which would fully utilize the Bailie’s existing facilities, without the added expense of building or remodeling.

Best wishes to this young couple, who plan to exchange vows on Feb. 18, 2012!  Since exchanging recipes is a cherished tradition at bridal showers, here’s a Bailie family favorite for Jennifer’s recipe book – and yours.  Of course, it makes use of several dairy products including butter, milk and ice cream.  With Real® ingredients like these, it has to be good!

Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share with this young couple?

Ritz Cracker Ice Cream Dessert



  • 2, double-sized packages of chocolate instant pudding
  • 1½ cups of 2% milk
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened



  1. Crush crackers and melt butter.
  2. Combine these together and then press these into a 13 x 9 inch pan.
  3. Beat together milk and chocolate pudding; fold in ice cream.
  4. Pour well mixed filling into cooled crust and refrigerate.
  5. Before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle a few crushed Ritz crackers.



  • 1 sleeve Ritz® (36 individual) crackers, crushed
  • 1½ sticks butter, melted