Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News



Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News


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Tuesday, 25 July 2017 00:00

Learning the lingo

JANESVILLE MESSENGER--Part of the fun at the fair is watching all of the animals being judged; each rabbit and chicken held by a hopeful youngster, each bovine, equine, ovine, caprine and porcine maneuvered by their handler in the show ring. You know what a rabbit and chicken are, but do you know a bovine refers to cattle, equine to horses and ponies, ovine to sheep, caprine to goats and porcine to pigs?

Emily Harris, a fourth generation  4-H member, recalls her days in the show ring with her sheep at the Boone County, Illinois, and Rock County, Wisconsin, fairs.

“You can always tell who the city people are,” Harris said. “I remember one lady asking me if my wether was pregnant and how many are in a litter. That’s the first time I realized that I knew stuff adults didn’t know.”

Just for the record, a wether could never be pregnant because that term refers to a castrated male sheep. The term for a newborn sheep is a lamb; typically, a sheep will have one or two young -- more than that is unusual.

Angela Nelson, who has shown cavies (guinea pigs) and rabbits at the Rock County 4-H Fair as a youth and at the Walworth County Fair as an open class competitor, said 4-Hers are prepped to answer questions about their projects.

“Now, I think that is the cool thing about these fairs,” Nelson said. “It’s that opportunity to educate people on your projects and the handling of livestock.”

When Nelson was 8 or 9 years old, however, she just thought the questions were stupid.

Well, we all know there is no such thing as a stupid question, but a little information can go a long way in preparing the uninitiated when they want to understand what’s going on in the show ring. Asking pertinent questions while visiting the animal barns will garner additional information and most kids are glad to share their knowledge of animals.

Chad Howlett, who grew up around beef cattle and has judged cattle and coached teams of younger judges, said observers to the judging process will often hear some common terms.

“I’ll refer to the ‘quality’ of the animal. The term is all-encompassing and includes the balance and overall structural correctness,” Howlett said. “You know it when an animal comes in the ring and it just has that ‘it factor’ -- that’s a quality animal.”

Know your fair animals


Hen -- mature female bird

Rooster­ -- male bird

Chick -- baby bird

Comb -- Typically red, the comb is the fleshy crest on top of the head

Spur -- The horny projection on the lower back part of the leg, used for defense


Rabbits have litters of young and live in a warren. Baby rabbits, commonly called bunnies, are kits. A flock of rabbits, in some parts of the world, are called “fluffies.”

Buck -- Male rabbit

Doe -- Female rabbit


Sheep is both singular and plural – for example, you can say “I have one  sheep” or you could say “I have five sheep.” A sheep designates an animal over 1 year of age. Younger animals are called lambs. Mutton refers to the processed meat of a sheep; lamb refers both to the meat and the animal, 1  year old or less.

Ewe -- adult female sheep

Ram -- male sheep

Wether -- castrated male sheep

Flock -- a group of sheep


Goats chew their cud, which means they regurgitate a partially digested wad of food to chew it again in order to digest it. All ruminants do this and have multiple compartments, usually four, in their stomach to use in ingestion. The Boer goat is a popular meat animal, while the dairy breeds include Alpines, Saanens and Nubians. Angora goats are raised for their fiber, which is processed into mohair yarn.

Buck -- adult male

Doe -- adult female

Kid -- baby goat of either sex

Chevron -- the meat of a goat

Wattle -- an appendage of flesh that hangs from the throat/neck area


This category is divided into beef and dairy cattle. Beef cattle breeds include Angus, a black-skinned breed developed in the Angus region of Scotland. Another popular breed developed in Herefordshire, England. The Hereford is prized for its high yield of beef and its efficiency of production. The breed names of animals, as in these two cases, often are derivative of the animal’s origins.

Dairy breeds include the Holstein, known as the world’s highest production dairy animal. Their black and white markings are a familiar sight on Wisconsin farms, where they make up 90 percent of the herds. Jersey and Brown Swiss also are dairy cattle.

 Bull -- an intact (not castrated) male of any age

Steer -- castrated male

Heifer -- a young female, under 3 years old, that has not had a calf

Cow -- a female that has had a calf

Calf -- refers to the young between birth and weaning of either sex

Beef -- the processed meat of an adult animal

Veal -- the meat from a calf

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The nation’s largest and most influential newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, continually are adjusting to the quickly changing ways that readers consume news.

The same is true with our weekly newspapers here at CSI Media.

Walworth County Fair

Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2017

Mobile guide and schedule

STATELINE NEWS -- The music always comes first. Then it depends on mastering the necessary skills and subtleties of the role.

Add the fact that Elijah Miller and Bryan Trasvina are self-starters, and it’s easy to see why they were chosen as guest student conductors for the Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra’s annual Independence Day pops concerts.

The Fruzen Intermediate School eighth-graders-to-be were selected from Glenn Wilfong’s band class, which participated in BJSO music director Rob Tomaro’s five-week Conducting Kids program.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Russ Hays has been busy. As co-chair of the Cars Time Forgot car show, he’s lined up vendors, recruited volunteers, answered innumerable questions from potential visitors and exhibitors and given interviews — heck, he even  built the show trophy.

He’ll see all his work come to fruition on Sunday, July 9, 2017 when more than 1,000 show cars, trucks, motorcycles and special interest vehicles are expected to cover the grounds of Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. This is the sixth year the show has been at the resort after outgrowing its original location in downtown Delavan.

STATELINE NEWS -- The Equal Opportunities Commission’s duties are spelled out on the city of Beloit’s website:

"Enforces equal opportunity in housing for all citizens of the city and receives and investigates all complaints alleging discriminatory practices in the provisions of fair and equal access to housing or housing accommodations on the basis of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, handicap, religion, national origin, familial status, sex or marital status of the person maintaining a household, lawful source of income and age or ancestry.

SOUTH BELOIT -- It isn’t stuff of the hit 1985 movie, but organizers and supporters of Nature at the Confluence are going back to the future.

They’re learning about what once was, while imagining what the abused land near the intersection of the Rock River and Turtle Creek can become again.

BELOIT TOWNSHIP -- Two years ago, F.J. Turner High’s softball program took three sets of sisters with it to the WIAA state softball tournament.

The older siblings were all seniors, the younger siblings all freshmen.

And when the Trojans’ run ended in a Division 2 semifinal loss, many believed Turner would be back when the young sisters, themselves, reached their senior seasons.

There was only one problem. The Trojans weren’t all that interested in waiting that long.

STATELINE NEWS -- Life has come full circle for Dana and Matt Brandl, at least when it comes to their families and dairy breakfasts.

Their parents were in the spotlight in 2007 as the Karlens hosted the Green County affair while the Brandls entertained at the Rock County event.

However, Dana and Matt are doing the honors for the latter gathering this year.

The Rock County Dairy Promotion Council’s annual celebration is scheduled for Saturday, June 10, 2017,  from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the farm at 10817 E. Lake Shore Road in Clinton. Cost is $6 for adults and $2 for children 10 and younger.

Several thousand people are expected to visit the property located on East Lake Shore Road just southeast of Clinton, which his parents, Dave and Anne, bought in 1985.

“They came to us last fall about hosting, which is kind of neat because it’s 10 years since our families did it,” Dana said. “The council has been unbelievable to work with. They have experience and have an outline of everything that’s scheduled. They do all of the set-up, and they are in charge of lining up the specialists, like a nutritionist and a veterinarian. But they’re flexible and open to other ideas.”

Meanwhile, Matt and Dana, who have been married for three years, remain in partnership with his folks but took over daily operation of the farm last year.

They have about 315 acres, 300 of them planted in corn and hay, which stays on the farm to feed a herd of 250 milking cows. They produce nearly 650,000 pounds -- 75,500 gallons -- of milk every month.

They spend about 12 hours daily milking, including cleanup, with shifts starting at 4 a.m., noon and 8 p.m.

“The people who get here early enough (for the dairy breakfast) should get to see us finish up our first milking that day,” Matt said of their parallel parlor that features eight cows on each side and involves three people, one on each side and one to move the animals in and out and clean barns.

Every ounce of that milk is accounted for, and technology has helped tremendously.

“Dad used to keep track of everything in paper notebooks,” Matt said, remembering how tough it was to find the right information sometimes. “Now, everything is computerized and much faster.”

The Brandls’ operation features a crew of about 10 full- and part-time workers, mostly family members and a couple of good friends. However, Dave endured open-heart surgery on Easter Day and isn’t back to 100 percent yet, a situation that doesn’t suit someone who enjoys the rigors of farm life.

Families like the Brandls know nothing else other than working and farming. That even applies to Matt and Dana’s 2-year-old son, Max, who takes his job seriously, hauling feed for the cows back and forth in his Little Tikes red wagon.

“I can’t imagine Matt doing anything else,” Dana said. “In farming, you need experience in so many areas … crop production, the veterinary field, fixing equipment.”

Matt responds: “When we’ve got a sick cow, I call Dana and ask her what I should do.”

That’s because she does lab work at Stateline Veterinary Service in Darien on a part-time basis.

Dana is from near Monticello, about 10 miles north of Monroe, where she and her siblings were the fourth generation to live on the land that has been in the family of Swiss ancestry since 1926.

“I helped feed calves pretty much since I started to walk,” she said.

They met at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Matt was taking a short course in agriculture after studying business at UW-Whitewater for a year.

His yearning to return to the farm had proven to be too strong, so he followed his heart.

“It involves long days, but I love farming,” Matt said. “And I love working for myself.”

And that means, among many factors, keeping abreast of changing technology and the sometimes-volatile financial markets.

The Brandls were not affected by the recent drama involving Wisconsin milk producers and trade issues with Canada.

“Anytime you have so much milk on the market, it can affect the whole system more long term or indirectly,” he said.

They belong to the Rolling Hills Dairy Cooperative, which started in 2006 with 13 members, including Dave Brandl. Today it includes 170 farmers throughout southern Wisconsin.

And some of them no doubt were among the estimated 3,800 people who attended the previous event at the Brandl farm despite the fact Janesville and other parts of the county received rain that morning in June 2007.

“We’re anticipating around 4,500 to attend, but we’re preparing for 5,000,” Matt said.

But he and Dana are looking forward to playing host again.

“Many people still don’t know a lot about how a family farm works or where their milk comes from,” Dana said. “We treat these 300 (calves) like they’re our babies. It’s good for people to see that these families are committed to farming.”

The dairy promotions council will have a large tent and tables set up in a green space adjacent to the house, and parking will be in the field to the west. The Rock County event is one of the more than 72 breakfasts across Wisconsin promoting June Dairy Month.

The all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast includes ham patties, yogurt, cheese sticks, applesauce, ice cream, milk and coffee. Activities include tours, a crafty cow contest, music from the band Heatwave and the Rock County 4-H choir, a small animal display, tractor wagon rides and the Rock County ag ambassador leading an educational game area for children.

But the event is about much more than that.

“I like hosting the dairy breakfast because it means cleaning up some things you normally don’t get to,” Dana said, to which her husband responded, jokingly, of course, “I don’t like it because you have to clean up things you normally don’t get to.”

STATELINE NEWS -- It’s Memorial Day weekend, and summer already seems to be in full swing in the Stateline area.

    The summer festival season began Friday, as it always does, with the Young at Heart Festival in Loves Park.

But there are many other events happening throughout the summer; if if they are not on your calendar yet, the should be.

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