Delivering the highest quality dairy products since 1946

Dr. Niles has been a featured speaker, both nationally and internationally on topics relating to proper cow care, in particular, maternity care on modern dairy farms. With a diverse professional background, Dr. Niles is currently the Operations Manager for the Pagel Family Businesses, overseeing two Kewaunee county dairies, Dairy Dreams, LLC and Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC. Dr. Niles serves as president of Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer lead environmental stewardship organization in Kewaunee and southern Door Counties. He participates in the following organizations: AVMA; AABP; DCWC; DBA and NMC.

Introduction
The standards, practices, and norms of modern dairy
treatment practices bear almost no similarity to the practices
that I encountered upon leaving veterinary school and
starting dairy practice in 1982. Basically, everything has
changed, most for the better. In 1982, the largest herd I serviced
had 80 cows. Today, that could be the hospital pen in a
5,000-cow dairy. Early on, most antibiotic treatments were
actually administered by the veterinarian. On many dairies
today, that is a rare exception. Treatment protocols existed
mainly in the practitioner’s head and could vary day to day
for a variety of reasons. Written record systems, when used
at all, were often no more sophisticated than an index card
stuck in the cow trainer above the patient. There were several
major disrupters that changed these norms over time.
Dairies modernized and expanded. As a consequence, it was
not practical for individual treatments to be administered
by a veterinarian. At the same time, the training, focus, and
skill sets of herd and hospital managers allowed these treatments
to be done with proper discipline without immediate
veterinarian supervision. Regulatory changes, such as the
Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA),
focused a much brighter light on the legal limitations and
responsibilities of veterinarians, as well as better defining the
veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). No longer
could veterinarians design treatments “on the fly.” Equally
important, society changed around us. The 1% of the US
population that still farms lost touch with the 99% who do
not. The 99% want to know how animals are treated, why
they are treated, and how their families can be protected
from impurities in their food supply. None of this was on my
veterinary radar in 1982.

Basic Principles of Designing a Treatment System

The bedrock principle of designing a treatment system
for implementation on a large modern dairy starts with clearly
designating the exact individuals who will be implementing
any treatments. This obviously includes the veterinarian with
the VCPR for the herd. As mandated by AMDUCA, this is the
only person who can design treatment protocols for prescription
medications for use on the farm. This also includes not
only the fresh cow and hospital managers, but all the other
people who might be involved in administering antibiotics,
identifying animals to be treated, recording treatments and
observing restrictions, such as meat and milk withholding.
All of these individuals will need some amount of training.
If the dairy can’t identify who all these individuals are, that
is where the herd veterinarian needs to start.
The next step in the process is to collect all individuals
who have any responsibility for making treatment decisions,
in order to agree on a finite list of diseases and treatments
that will be confronted by the treatment team. It didn’t seem
like it on the day I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
degree, but there is actually a very small number of disease
conditions of interest to a dairy treatment crew. The group
needs to start out by making this list. Leadership by the veterinarian
is important here.
Once the disease entities of concern are identified,
a list of approved treatment protocols for each disease is

the next step. The veterinarian obviously has a crucial role
here. Treatments need to be legal, appropriate, and within
the skill sets of the treatment crews. Once again, there may
be several different treatment protocols approved, such as a
primary and secondary intramammary treatment tube. For
each, the dose, duration of treatment, and appropriate withhold
times need to be established. This meeting should be
in the form of a discussion, so that any legitimate ideas can
be discussed. However, at the end of the day, no treatments
can be conducted on the dairy that is not established on
this list. Once a treatment protocol has been assigned, it is
automatically established as to what follow-up treatments are
scheduled, what day the cow is to be reexamined, and what
day it will be tested for drug residues. This even carries out
to meat residues. The day the protocol is assigned to a cow,
we already know what its meat withhold clear date will be.
The disease and treatment lists should be reviewed
occasionally and updated as treatment options are added or
removed. The bedrock principle has to be that no treatments
can be administered that differ from the established treatment
protocols in drug type, dose, duration or withhold. No
“cowside” modifications are permitted. One final point on
the treatment protocol table; it is a very good idea for the
veterinarian of record to conduct an occasional audit done
by another veterinarian. The second veterinarian could be a
partner, pharmaceutical tech service or even a neighboring
practitioner. This can often identify a minor protocol breach
that has unintentionally crept into the system.

Implementing the Program

Once all the written protocols are established and
agreed to, the details of practical implementation need to be
established. How does the treater know that he or she is treating
the right cow? If the hospital pen is loaded on a carousel
to be treated in between shifts, there could be significant time
pressure to get treatments done. The treater needs to know
with 100% accuracy which teat is to be treated with which
medication, which udder needs to be checked for treatment
response, which needs to be sampled for residues. An error
here can be catastrophic. In our herds, we use a DC305
treatment list that shows all treatments and checks planned
for that day in the hospital pen. As the technician identifies
a cow, the list will immediately tell him what action is necessary.
I also strongly recommend an automated system of
physical ID. On our parallel parlor, we scan the cows in for
treatment as they load into the parlor and immediately resort
the hospital list to show cows in the order in which they are
standing. In the rotary parlor, we put leg bands with an RFID
tag attached on the back legs of cows entering the hospital.
These tags are scanned from behind the cow, so the treater
knows what action to take. We find this far safer than a visual
identification by a human.
As cows prepare to be moved out of the hospital pen,
they must be tested for antibiotic residues. The purpose
here is not to double check the established withhold times
determined when a drug is approved by the Food and Drug
Administration. Instead, this is our final protection against
releasing a cow that has been accidentally treated outside its
intended protocol. Finally, a cow’s meat hold date is also
established the moment the treatment protocol is entered
into the computer. That date stays with the cow record. As
we make a list of beef cows to be sent to slaughter on a given
day, our list automatically includes her meat withhold date.
That gives us one final check to make sure a cow is not being
sent too soon.
Conclusion
The transformation in the dairy industry from small
farms with hands-on treatments delivered by the veterinarian,
to large herds with dedicated treatment teams would
seem like a recipe for residue disaster. Instead, when training
protocols and procedures are in place, we can end up with
a system that is actually safer and more disciplined than the
traditional model. There is both a serious responsibility on
the veterinarian’s shoulders in such a program, as well as a
tremendous opportunity to provide value and leadership to
a key client.

-Dr. Niles

Madison, Wis (March 5, 2019)- Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC, Kewaunee dairy farm and farmstead cheese producer, received a bronze medal for their Farmstead Cheese Curds at the World Championship Cheese Contest. The contest was held March 3-5 at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI.

“We are very excited and humbled by our ranking,” said Ben Shibler, cheese operations manager. “It really is a collaborative effort, from our small cheese production team to our cows’ quality milk.

Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC has received World Championship medals in the past with their snack-cheese brand, Ponderosa Farmstead. However, this is the first accolade they’ve received for their cheese curds.

The award-winning, farmstead cheese curds were crafted by the Ponderosa Farmstead team at their on-site farm production facility. To be classified as a farmstead, cheese needs to be produced on-farm using milk from the dairy herd. The on-farm production facility is housed on their farm, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC – Wisconsin’s largest family-owned and operated dairy farm.

“This award puts our farmstead products in the global spotlight, opening doors for the growth of our brand,” states Shibler. “I am very excited for the future of Ponderosa Farmstead!”

Award-winning, Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds, can be found at Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, LLC in Luxemburg, Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC on-farm, general store and online at www.ronscheese.com.

 

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

Click on the image to see the video!

FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead cheese is available weekly at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy!
Monday & Thursday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese Curds Tuesday & Wednesday: FRESH Ponderosa Farmstead String and Whip
Where to buy: Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, The Cannery Public Market, Festival Foods, Metcalfe’s Market, Hy-Vee, Online at pagelsponderosa.com

From the Farm Family…

Time flies when you’re having fun! As sweet as the summer months were, it’s time to enjoy this beautiful fall season. We are looking forward to picking apples (our family tradition), carving pumpkins, and the upcoming corn harvest. This season we will harvest over 3,800 acres of corn, making “Cow Chow” for our girls! As the corn continues to grow so does our family,

Jamie & Steve†: Brooke 15; Braelyn 12;  Brex 10
JJ & Chase: Kiley 17; Jaylyn 10; Jaxen 8;  Jase 6
Bryan & Ashley: Peyton 9; Brynn & Bryley 7
Dustin: Kadence 4

Always count your blessings,
The Pagel Family

New Office Staff

Alyssa Berg, daughter of Craig and Annie Berg, is our new Office Intern. A senior at Kewaunee High School, Alyssa is very active playing on the Varsity Volleyball Team! During the school year, Alyssa is involved with Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) as the active Vice President. Her passions outside of school are hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling. We look forward to watching her grow through this internship.

Vicky Dahlke has joined the team as our new Executive Assistant. She resides in Kewaunee with her husband, Steve along with their two boys, Brandan and Cole, and their black lab, Melody. They enjoy watching their boys play football, basketball, and baseball. To Vicky, spending time with friends and family is most important.
“I am very eager to start in this new role and learn more about the dairy industry,” says Vicky! We are glad to have her on board with the team. Make sure to give her a warm welcome when coming through the front door.

Clyde Hill Calf Ranch

Calf Manager, Shawn Miller, and his team are hard at work making sure all 3,000 calves are happy and healthy! Fun fact, in the month of August it took roughly 27,800 gallons of milk to feed the calves!

General Store

Hours: Monday-Friday: 8 AM – 4:30 PM
Always available in our General Store at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC.
Ponderosa Farmstead cheese curds
Ponderosa Farmstead cheese whips
Ponderosa Farmstead fiesta string & whips
Ponderosa Farmstead block cheeses
Ponderosa Farmstead beef sticks & jerky
FRESH curds are available on Mondays and Thursdays, given there is no holiday. First come, first-serve basis!

Summer Help on the Farm

“Not only do we appreciate the extra help around the farm, but it’s fun teaching trade jobs and seeing the hard work the kids put in every day” – Pagel’s Managers
Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, LLC is proud to teach the next generation ALL jobs which take place on the farm. Thank you to ALL our summer students for helping!

Tour the Ponderosa!

Farm tours are in full swing at the dairy. This summer we welcomed guests all over the world. From South America to California and all the way to the Carolinas! Farm favorites were the FRESH cheese curds, visiting the calf ranch, and seeing the birth of a calf! Don’t miss out on an opportunity to visit.
Book your school, volunteer group, or family tour today!

Fall Fest on the Farm

Thank you, to those who attended our Fall Fest on the Farm!
Fall Fest was held to show appreciation to our landlords and neighbors in advance of the busy harvest season.

Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese

Now Available in Stores!

Ponderosa Farmstead string, whips, and curds have officially been launched in ALL Festival Foods grocery stores statewide! Click here to see where you can purchase Ponderosa Farmstead Cheese! 

Special Visits

Marianne Smurkowski from The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Terry Lensmire stopped by on July 24th to interview Cheesemaker Ben for the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program. Ben will be pursuing a Master Medal for mozzarella cheese. There are currently only 60 certified Master Cheesemakers in the world today. The Master Cheesemaker program takes 3 years to complete. At the end of the 3 years, Ben will have 1 week to take and complete the Master Cheesemaker exam, which will take 40-60 hours to complete. We wish Ben the best of luck!

Upcoming Competitions
Ponderosa Farmstead is entered into the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy this October; this is the largest annual “cheese only” contest on the planet with over 40 nations participating! We entered, curds, whips, string, fiesta string, fiesta whips, caciotta, and chanakh.

Ponderosa Farmstead in the News
WFRV – Award-Winning Farmstead Cheese
Baltimore Style – Game Day B.Y.O.

Farmstead Facts
Ponderosa Farmstead broke a production record in July, producing 27,485 lbs of cheese. This was 1,000 lbs. over the biggest production month on record. Great work Ponderosa Farmstead!

The Cannery Market, LLC

“In memory of our farmer,” John T. Pagel, The Farmer’s Table is a private event space with seating for up to 25 people. This space is perfect for business meetings or family gatherings. An exclusive Chef’s experience is also available for up to 10 guests. Reserve the space today!

Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese, LLC

Christmas is right around the corner! Leave Wisconsin cheese under the Christmas tree for your family, friends, and customers. Order online or by phone.

 

Our mailing address is:
N4893 Cty Rd. C, Kewaunee, WI. 54216