The year was 1867, Herman Hensen had just become an American and emigrated from Germany. After finding himself a piece of land that reminded him of home, Hensen put down roots in rural Middleton and homesteaded what today — 150 years later — is Hensen Brother’s Family Farm.
Today, Will Hensen, his brother Jim, and their sons own and operate the farm which has grown considerably from when Herman first began to farm. The farm is home to around 500 milking cows and the young stock to accompany them. Will and his brother represent the fourth generation of Hensens to run the farm and after listening to Will tell the story, the main goal has always been (and will always be) looking towards the future. Will explains that before the farm makes any building or remodeling decisions, they think about how this decision might affect the longevity of the operation.
Bryant had the opportunity to talk with Will Hensen who was quick to point out that his family is the most important to him and that raising a family on the farm is the best way to get them involved. Hensen says that in order to be successful today, a farmer must embrace new technologies and embrace change. The Hensens have always been innovators, installing superior ventilation and partnering with other local producers in the Springfield digested, a plant now far from the home farm that processes a lot of the manure the farm produces.
The recent celebration was well attended as the whole Hensen family was invited to come back to their family’s roots in rural Wisconsin. Countless friends and neighbors joined in on the celebration as well. Tours were given and many questions answered as a number of individuals who attended were not familiar with dairy production.
Will shared with us in closing that next year the family will be taking part in the Sesquicentennial Farm celebration program at the Wisconsin State Fair. He ended our conversation with some strong words.
“Ask any employer around and they will say to hire a farm kid. They know what’s it’s like to get out of bed and but in a full day of work — a tradition that we hope to continue on our farm”
Listen to Bryant and Will Hensen’s conversation by clicking link below