The Faces Behind the Calves

Colleen Vanderloop

My love of farming started at a very young age.

I grew up in a small town in south western Wisconsin where I enjoyed spending time at a special aunt and uncles farm. My dream was to someday have a farm of my my own.

I spent two years at Western Wisconsin Technical College earning my associates degree in marketing and retailing.

I moved to North Eastern Wisconsin in 1988 and worked for a farm equipment dealership.

In 1993, I found the farm where I am still residing today. The farm has gone through many renovations and expansions, which has given me diverse experience in multiple types of calf raising conditions.

Brooke Vanderloop

I have been around calves for as long as I can remember. I was just starting to come to the barn when we had veal and dairy beef, but I have mostly known dairy replacement heifers.

In the past two years I have raised over 100 of my own calves, which includes both Holstein and Holstein Limousine crosses. I have raised them both indoors, and outdoors.

This is one of the groups of bull calves I raised outdoors. They ended at an ADG of 3.4 lbs at 4 months. This was one of my best performing groups.

Along with my hands on experience, I graduated from University of Wisconsin Platteville in May of 2019, earning my Bachelors degree in Dairy Science with a minor in Agricultural Business.

I have spent numerous hours outside of my formal schooling extending my education.

Together, Colleen and I have done CE credits with University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, courses with PDPW, and training with Purina.

This is me and one of our three dogs, Ruby. Our dogs are by our side all day everyday, they also love the calves.

Another aspect we bring is to the table is we have small pieces of many different cattle industries. Dairy people do things differently than beef people, who do things differently than veal people. We have had the privilege to be exposed to all of them, which allows us to take bits and pieces from each to create something amazing! We have multiple different views on calf raising. Between ventilation, pre-wean and post-wean nutrition, group housing, individual housing, indoor and outdoor housing, bottle feeding, bucket feeding, auto feeders, and many other aspects of raising cattle, We have been around many different systems. Brooke had also worked on multiple farms throughout her college career, which helped her to see how things can be done differently and still be very successful.

Our temporary outdoor housing in the winter of 2016.

We have experience with managing calf care employees. We have changed a lot of things about our employee management system over the years. We have found many ways to communicate better, especially when you and some of your employees may not speak the same language! We have found ways to keep everyone in the loop, ways to keep feeding schedules straight, how to relay information from the morning shift to the night shift and visa versa. We also take a lot of pride in the efficiency of our system. Working smarter, not harder is the motto we strive for. We don’t want our employees running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We want to optimize and prioritize their time so they can be highly productive, while still doing a great job, and enjoying what they do.

In this photo, another premature calf named Magnolia, Bentley, one of our other dogs, and Boots, the cat, are getting ready to take milk and grain to my bull calves outside.

With our experience, education, connections and passion, we know we can make an improvement in your calf program. Not only can we help in calf raising, but we can also help in saving you money and time.

We are confident that we can come to your farm and help you with something that is going to either make your life easier, make your employees job easier, help your calves, or help your bottom line, or if we are lucky, a little bit of each!

Lastly, we have only met a small number of people that are as PASSIONATE about raising calves as we are. We feel it is our job to share that passion with other people. We want EVERYONE to raise absolutely stellar calves! Whether you are raising calves for beef, dairy beef, veal, or dairy heifer replacements, we want to come to your farm and see what we can do together!

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Send me a message on Facebook – Brooke Vanderloop

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