Creating Dairyland: How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin

Overview

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea ...

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Creating Dairyland: How caring for cows saved our soil, created our landscape, brought prosperity to our state, and still shapes our way of life in Wisconsin

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Overview

The story of dairying in Wisconsin is the story of how our very landscape and way of life were created. By making cows the center of our farm life and learning how to care for them, our ancestors launched a revolution that changed much more than the way farmers earned their living — it changed us.

In Creating Dairyland, journalist, oral historian, and former dairyman Ed Janus opens the pages of the fascinating story of Wisconsin dairy farming. He explores the profound idea that led to the remarkable "big bang" of dairying here a century and a half ago. He helps us understand why there are cows in Wisconsin, how farmers became responsible stewards of our resources, and how cows have paid them back for their efforts. And he introduces us to dairy farmers and cheesemakers of today: men and women who want to tell us why they love what they do.
 
Ed Janus offers a sort of field guide to Dairyland, showing us how to "read" our landscape with fresh eyes, explaining what we see today by describing how and why it came to be. Creating Dairyland pays tribute to the many thousands of Wisconsin farmers who have found a way to stay on their land with their cows. Their remarkable effort of labor, intelligence, and faith is one of the great stories of Wisconsin.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Never before has one book encompassed the complete tale of Wisconsin's dairy industry in such a mesmerizing and musing way. From its powerful 'big bang' beginning, to the present day renaissance of artisan and farmstead cheeses, this story of how Wisconsin came to be called America's Dairyland is a must-read for the current generation. Author Ed Janus aptly captures the 'can-do' spirit of the state's dairy farmers and cheesemakers, all the while preaching 'the gospel of the cow' like no else before him. Anyone who thinks they know the complete story of how Wisconsin came to be will come away with a new perspective and appreciation for the state's heritage."  (Jeanne Carpenter, Wisconsin Cheese Originals)

"Starting with an excellent history of dairy farming in Wisconsin, Ed Janus also includes nine stories of cheesemakers and dairy farmers in their own voices in this important book about the Wisconsin dairy industry then and now." (Jerry Apps, author, historian and storyteller)

"Anyone who grew up on a dairy farm or has any connection to the dairy industry would enjoy reading this book. . . . The dairy farmers Ed writes about illustrate the diversity of Wisconsin dairy farms, some with a few cows, some with a lot of cows and some who make their own cheese, but all share the love of cows and the land." (Bob Cropp, professor emeritus and dairy economist, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

"Just in time for June Dairy Month comes a book that details the surprising history of the Wisconsin dairy industry and tells the forgotten story of the redemptive power the dairy cow had on an ailing Wisconsin landscape, which helped usher in an era of enlightenment that exists on many dairy farms to this day." (Jim Lundstrom, Scene Newspaper)

"Creating Dairyland is the most eloquent statement I’ve read yet of a truth seldom expressed because it rubs some farmers the wrong way. Dairying is one of the few kinds of farming that can be both ecologically and economically profitable at the same time. The business of producing milk demands both good husbandry and good agronomy. Clovers and grasses form the bulk of what goes into a cow’s mouth, and the manure and urine coming out the other end provide enough fertilizer, along with the green manure value of rotated hay crops, to make farming truly sustainable. . . . Along with the dedication of dairy farmers like the ones Mr. Janus profiles, manure just might be the poop that saves the whole world in the future." (Gene Logsdon, author of Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind)

"Janus has done more than write regional history - he has put together a cogent argument for the good done by public universities and the power of enlightened association in the name of economic fairness and stability. Although its stated topic is cows and cheese, the actual subject matter of Creating Dairyland is the creation of a great American state. It’s a story that any Wisconsinite (or, heck, even an enlightened Minnesotan or Iowan) should seek out and enjoy, chased by a tall glass of milk." (James Norton, The Heavy Table)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870204630
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Publication date: 6/17/2011
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,443,703
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ed Janus spent two years as a dairy farmer in Crawford County, Wisconsin, where he fell in love with cows, fields, barns, and farmers. Since then he has interviewed hundreds of people as an audio journalist, writer, and oral historian and has created radio programs for public radio, the Voice of America, and publishers in the United States and Germany. In 2007 Ed created a series of audio profiles of today’s dairy farmers and cheesemakers for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. He lives in Madison.
 

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