Broedlow Family is Living their Legacy in Southeastern Wisconsin
Their families owned land adjacent to one another. Their childhood homes were just one mile apart, yet Brady and Lynsey Broedlow didn’t meet until they were both out of high school. Even their first meeting is unusual for teenagers raised in a small town.
“When I was 16, I joined the Helenville (Wisconsin) Volunteer Fire Department,” says Lynsey. “My dad has been on the department since he was 18, so he ignited that desire to serve in me. Brady joined the department a few years later when he turned 18, which is where our story began.”
Brady and Lynsey met in 2011. They were married in 2016. One year later they purchased the family farm that Brady’s grandparents once operated. His grandparents milked Guernsey cows until 1999 and later raised Holstein steers. Brady is the 5th generation to live on this farm that was started in 1876 by his Great-Great Grandfather Gustave Broedlow.
“A large piece of what motivates Brady is carrying on his grandparents’ legacy,” says Lynsey. “Brady spent time helping his grandpa, but farming wasn’t what he lived and breathed every day. After his grandpa passed away in 2012, Brady wanted to carry on what his grandparent’s and what family before them had started. He wanted to make his family’s farm sustainable for the 21st century.”
During the past seven years, the Broedlow farm has been transformed. Equipment has been updated; buildings have been improved and maintained. Brady decided to switch from raising Holstein bottle calves to building a Hereford cow-calf herd. He and Lynsey calve out 20 to 25 cows each spring.
“It was just a typical Tuesday in July when Brady asked me to help him put fly tags in the cows’ ears,” says Lynsey. “I started looking at the tags and noticed they were blank number tags. I proceeded to tell him he bought the wrong tags, of course. Without losing his cool, he asked me to give him the first tag. I pulled it off the plastic backing and turned it over. Then I saw, “Will You Marry Me?” written on the back of it. He got down on one knee right there in the milk house. It was a true fairy tale for a farm crazy girl like me!”
Brady and Lynsey feed out the calves they raise and sell the beef direct to consumers. The cattle are grass fed and grain finished. They raise about 95% of their cattle’s feed.
“We pour our hearts and souls into our farming operation. Good animal husbandry is at the center of our operation,” says Lynsey. “The reality is most farmers would risk their lives for their livelihood and animals. Consumers today are so far removed from the farmer that the trust between consumer and farmer is broken. As a farmer, that really hurts.”
“Like so many other producers, Brady and I love animals. We believe they should receive the best care we can give them,” adds Lynsey. “Our animals eat before we do in the morning, and we don’t go to bed at night without knowing they have dry bedding and a warm place to get in out of the harsh Wisconsin weather.”
The Broedlow’s herd is a mix of registered and commercial Herefords. They also have two Angus cows, which they breed to the Hereford bull for Black Baldy calves. Brady really likes this cross because the calves have the efficiency and gain of an Angus with the mellow disposition of a Hereford.
“Our goal is to set up our operation for success in the future,” says Lynsey. She and Brady both hold full-time, off-farm jobs. Brady works for the Jefferson County Highway Shop and spends many hours behind the wheel of trucks and other heavy equipment. Lynsey majored in entrepreneurship and earned a business degree and she is a marketing analyst for ORBIS Corporation, which makes reusable plastic packaging.
“Brady is the hardest working man I have ever met. If it wasn’t for his incredible work ethic, our farm wouldn’t be what it is today. We also wouldn’t be where we are today without help from our family and friends. Brady’s dad, in particular, spends many hours helping us. He is usually Brady’s first call when he needs a hand. Now that we have a one-year-old daughter, I’ve had to cut back on how much I can help outside and Brady’s dad has really helped to fill the gap. I find myself doing more of the behind-the-scenes support these days.”
Recently Brady and Lynsey have taken on a Latham® seed dealership. They like representing a family-owned seed company that was founded in the Upper Midwest. Latham Seeds has been the Latham family’s business for generations. In fact, its headquarters remains on the Latham family’s Iowa Century Farm. There also are parallels between the importance of selecting good genetics when breeding cattle or corn hybrids and soybean varieties.
Today we’re celebrating another Broedlow family tradition by sharing this recipe from Brady’s grandma. It’s known in their family simply as “Grandma’s Casserole.”
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 quart of stewed tomatoes (canned from the garden is best)
- 1 can of tomato soup
- ½ to ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ to ¾ bag of egg noodles
- 1 can of mushrooms drained (optional)
- Brown ground beef w/onion in stock pot; rinse browned beef.
- Add stewed tomatoes, soup, sugar and mushrooms; let simmer.
- Cook egg noodles in separate pot; drain and add to above.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy.