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Fourth generation De Pere dairy farmer honored with statewide award

Kelly Oudenhoven encourages more women to get into agriculture
Posted at 10:02 PM, Dec 13, 2022

DE PERE — With the nickname of America's Dairyland, it's not too difficult to find a local family farm that has a storied history of serving the community and helping put food on the table for thousands.

Kelly Oudenhoven is the co-owner Larrand Farm in De Pere. She's in charge of a 450 cow herd that produces around 3,000 gallons of milk.

Oudenhoven says that the all of the milk produced on the farm gets put into artisan cheesemaking.

She says that while the fifth generation is well on the way to growing up to become part of the dairy farm, it's becoming more uncommon across much of the country.

"It's not a job, it's a lifestyle and you really have to be wanting that lifestyle in order to be successful at farming, whether it's crops or dairy," said Oudenhoven.

She says that due to the ever-changing dynamics of farming and labor, the family has constantly worked to adjust while keeping up with increasing demand.

"We always have to think ten steps ahead of us because the decisions that we make today are always going to affect us in the future," said Oudenhoven.

This passion for innovation led to Oudenhoven recently winning the Wisconsin Farm Bureau's Farming for the Future Award. The competition judges participants on farm work, future goals, leadership ability, and civic engagement.

Oudenhoven also represents a growing number of women working in agriculture. she says that a third of all farms now have women working in agriculture, a big difference from when she was growing up.

"I still remember being told like, no, women don't go into farming. You know, like that's not something that women do and now I can look 15 or 16 years later and say, well, you know, here I am," said Oudenhoven.

She says that she wants to continue to encourage young women to follow in her footsteps and show that anyone can work in agriculture.

"My advice for young women today is don't let anybody hold you back. You know the possibilities are endless," said Oudenhoven.