Elegy to Woodstock, Wisconsin, and the Decline of the Family Dairy Farm
In this short but well-written novel, Thomas Sieger shows the reader what has been happening to the small family dairy farm in Wisconsin. He centers his story in the Driftless region of southwestern Wisconsin, where he begins with the history of the region. He describes how the village of Woodstock was once a thriving village in Richland County but has now all but disappeared. This village and the surrounding farming community had a close working relationship with each other. As the family dairy farms began disappearing, so did the businesses in the village, with which they had a close working relationship.
Sieger introduces us to the fictional Schultz family, who were early dairy farmers in the area. As the years pass, fifth generation dairy farmer Denny Schultz and his wife, Mary, face insurmountable economic problems. Denny learns that the bank will no longer lend him money, and he has a large feed bill at the local cooperative that he is unable to pay. He and his wife have to decide what to do. The decision is a difficult one. Sieger, in heart-wrenching detail, shows the reader that confronting the reality of losing a family dairy farm involves emotional stress that transcends the economics of the situation.
Here is an excellent novel to help readers more fully understand what has been going on in rural Wisconsin during the past couple of decades.
~Jerry Apps, author of Wisconsin Agriculture: A History • www.jerryapps.com
The book is richly illustrated with real photographs of the village of Woodstock, the surrounding environs, and dairying operations within both the smaller, iconic stanchion dairy barn and the large free-stall industrial barns.
120 page softcover
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Thomas Sieger
Tom Sieger and his wife, Myrt, are fortunate to care for a small parcel in the West Pine River Valley where they feed butterflies and birds, nurture prairie plantings, and battle invasive brambles.