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Annaliese Wegner from FarmHER Season Six, Episode 2

Where This FarmHER Leads, There Are Followers

Dairy FarmHER and Influencer Annaliese Wegner of Wegnerlann Dairy, is foremost known for her infectious energy and “I’m going to do it anyway” attitude. When the incredibly difficult task of raising her children required Annaliese to take a step back from her work at the family dairy, the wheels started turning. Eventually, it turned into a vibrant side business called the Modern Day Farm Chick.

“She gets an idea in her head, and she does it, like right now—you either are in on it or you’re left in the dust,” says Tom Wegner, Annaliese’s husband, dairy farmer, and unwitting participant in her online content. While Tom would rather be left out of it, he also understands his supporting role in the world Annaliese has created online is a way he can support her impact on the greater good.

As her sphere of influence continues to grow, Annaliese hopes she can inspire other FarmHERs to share their ag stories, boldly pursue their goals with energy and passion, and help squash misconceptions about agriculture in public discourse.

“What I tell people is: happy cows make milk,” she says. “If we don’t care for our animals and provide them with adequate feed and care and a place to lay down, a temperature-controlled barn…they’re not going to make milk. They’re not going to be happy.”

Animal Husbandry: Falling in Love with Dairy

While distinctly “modern” in her approach to farming in the age of the influencer, Annaliese has been a FarmHER from day one.

“I grew up on my family’s fifth-generation dairy farm,” she explains. “I had the opportunity to farm with not only my parents and my grandparents but all my great-grandparents, which I think not a lot of people can say. We were on the farm every day, all day.”

Feeding calves, and later a burgeoning role in herd health, became part of her daily chores on her family’s farm. Returning to help operate her family’s dairy was Annaliese’s goal when she packed her bags to study at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. As they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

“I met my husband in the Dairy Club – yes, there are clubs for people who really like cows,” Annaliese joked. “We just started dating and seeing each other at more events and more cow shows. And the rest is history, I guess.”

Wegnerlann Dairy

When Annaliese and Tom finished their studies in River Falls, they returned to Wegnerlann Dairy in Ettrick, Wisconsin, the operation spearheaded by Tom’s parents in 1986 with just 60 cows.

“Whether it’s a heifer calf or a bull calf, we give it the same quality care — but we do only keep the heifers, the girl calves on our farm, because those are the ones that produce milk, and we’re in the business of making milk. So, all our bull calves are sold within a week to local farmers who raise steers,” Annaliese tells Kirbe.

The family’s current operation has grown tenfold over the last three or four decades and added 11 employees. Rather than the stress of the business itself, some of Annaliese’s toughest days stem from her deep fondness for each cow and calf in their herd.

“I mean, almost every day there’s tough times,” she says. “You never know what the milk price is going to do. Feed prices. There are a lot of variables that change. Animals get sick. That is tough. Animals die. You know, we have our pets, our favorite ones here. And when it’s time for one of them to go, like, that’s hard.”

And, it’s true: life in the dairy business today is tougher than ever. Come what may, the Wegners’ dedication to the dairy business is steadfast.

“I couldn’t picture life any other way,” Annaliese told us. “And I know [Tom] would say the same thing,” Annaliese said. “Like, if we weren’t farmers, I don’t know what I’d do. I mean, I guess I have social media to fall back on at this point, but—no, this is where we want to be.”

Caring for Kids & Calves

Annaliese’s place within the operation centers around calf care. Clipboard in hand, she monitors each cow with the operation’s on-site veterinarian to determine each animal’s fertility status. She calls herself “the gal in charge of calves and kids.”

“Dairy calves have very sensitive immune systems, and we don’t want them ingesting any bacteria that the adult herd or other calves could be carrying. I think people worry that the calf misses its mom, or the cow misses its calf – it’s really that we need to separate the cow from the calf so that we can give them the best care possible,” she explains.

She stays busy because the cow’s wellbeing is paramount. Not to mention, with approximately 600 cows in total, births happen on the Wegner’s dairy farm almost every day. While they prefer to let cows get pregnant naturally that doesn’t always happen to plan as an animal ages. Since routine calving ensures a steady milk supply, in some cases, it requires intervention.

“Just like humans, cows sometimes need a little help,” she says.

Once a cow is no longer able to produce calves, her milk supply wanes, and eventually she is retired. The Wegners keep their cows on the farm to live out their days. Once the end nears, the cow will fulfill her final role in the food chain, to become beef. The final chapter of a very productive, happy life.

After meeting with the veterinarian, Annaliese turns her attention to Lane and Sage, patiently leading them step-by-step through their own list of chores around the family dairy.

Annaliese Wegner leads her twins, Lane and Sage, in chores around their dairy farm.

Becoming the Modern-Day Farm Chick

Stumbling upon the @modfarmchick for the first time – you may not realize that Annaliese’s powerful platform was born through a difficult transition into motherhood. However, this crucial chapter of Annaliese’s story only started six years ago, following the birth of her twins.

“It was hard to raise two babies on the farm and actually get stuff done,” Annaliese recalls. “Like, I did not enjoy the first year of having children because, yes, you’re excited. You’re grateful that they’re here, but I kinda like lost a little piece of myself.”

Making the Modern Day Farm Chick began as an outlet for her as she struggled to find a balance between the demands of motherhood and her passion for agriculture. Each day as she posts “raw and real” glimpses into her life, she hopes viewers find humor, inspiration, or a new understanding of agriculture in what she’s doing.

“Since the twins were born, I really have built this brand, Modern Day Farm Chick,” Annaliese says. “So, I’m trying to figure out where I am with my own personal business and motherhood.”

Annaliese Wegner

Farm & Grow

For many hardworking people with creative aspirations, mothers or not, one of the hardest hurdles to overcome is finding the courage to take the first step.

“I think women want something for themselves, and I want to help them do what’s on their heart and put it out into the world,” she said.

This realization led her to create Farm + Grow Co., a platform that fosters connection and helps women in ag to network and navigate the industry together.

“I never thought anyone besides my grandma would read my blog posts, so it’s kind of wild to be here—it’s really cool,” she said. “I’m very thankful for this community that I’ve grown. It’s turned into, really, a business. It’s becoming a second income for our family, which is great because farming is tough.”

If you learn anything from Annaliese, she hopes viewers see the humanity behind agriculture in her content. That, for the everyday farmer, it’s about passion over profits.

“I think I want people to know that farmers are people just like you, just like everybody else,” she says. “We’re people who care and want what’s best for our family, our farm, our agricultural community, land, water. We’re doing the best we can.”

Watch FarmHER Season 6, Episode 2 featuring Annaliese Wegner when it premieres on Tuesday, March 26 at 8 pm ET only on RFD-TV and RFD-TV Now!

You can also catch encore airings of the episode on Fridays at 9:30 pm ET and Saturdays at 11:30 am ET, or stream any episode of FarmHER and RanchHER any time with your RFD-TV Now subscription.

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3 thoughts on “Where This FarmHER Leads, There Are Followers

  1. Hi I am deaf family farm and I have limb girdle muscles dystrophy I do own chickens and also cats outdoor. I use my three wheels scooter and use rollator front baskets ???? for feeds.

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