News: Colby Dairy
Surnames: Gumz, Kosik, Tesch
----Source: Tribune/Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., Wis.) 23 Jun 2021
Fans of on-the-farm dining will be happy to hear that drive-through will not be the only option at this year’s Colby FFA Alumni Dairy Breakfast.
Unlike last year’s breakfast, which was served in the parking of the Colby Lions Shelter due to COVID concerns, this Sunday’s big meal will be held at Tri-G Farms east of Dorchester.
Owned by Bruce and Jolene Gumz and Bruce’s sister, Beth Kosik, the third generation dairy farm features around 120 dairy cows, about 50 steers and a half dozen hogs.
Both Bruce and Jolene are graduates of Colby High School, where their daughter, Alexis, recently earned her diploma. Their son, Aaron, 13, will enter the high school in the fall. All three of Beth’s kids -- Megan, 14, Isaac, 11, and Aleah, 7 -- help out on the farm as well.
Bruce and Jolene fully took over the farm from Bruce’s parents, William and Dawn, back in 2008, and two years after that, they were named 2010’s Young Outstanding Farmers of the Year.
Bruce’s grandmother, Selma Gumz, helped his parents get into dairy farming, and they raised cows at several different locations over the years, including at a barn blown down by a tornado in the early 1970’s.
This will be the second dairy breakfast the Gumzs have hosted -- the first one was for the Abby FFA Alumni six years ago -- and Bruce says they’ve made several changes on the farm since then. He said the family had just installed a robot milker at the time of the first breakfast, and he’s been waiting for an opportunity to showcase it more since then.
“I think it’ll be cool to show off the robot a little bit,” he said. “Our business has evolved quite a bit since the last time.”
One of the barns has been completely remodeled since last time, and the family invested more into beef cattle and hogs.
“We’ve diversified so much from what we were last time,” he said.
The Gumzs have started selling beef and pork right off the farm, but their hog-raising does not make up much of their operation.
“There’s not a whole lot of money in it,” he said. “They’re just fun to have around.”
Between 1,300 and 1,500 people are expected to show up to the Gumzs’ farm on Sunday, based on estimates from the Colby FFA Alumni, Bruce said.
Bruce said hosting their first dairy breakfast six years ago was a little nerve-wracking, as they worried making sure everything was clean, clear and as close to perfect as possible. Having gone through that experience before, they’re not as anxious as second-timers.
“This time we’re a little more relaxed,” he said. “We kind of know what to expect.”
Hosting Abbotsford’s breakfast taught them that they don’t need to worry about handling every little thing because of all the volunteers who make the breakfast possible every year.
“Once people start showing up, you just kind of get talking to everybody,” he said. “You really don’t do a whole lot once it’s going. It’s basically hosting a big party where you just go visit from one neighbor to the next.”
Jolene said the work done by the alumni group frees them up to be hosts, roaming around and meeting with their guests.
One of the highlights for the Gumzs will be showing people their DeLaval robotic milker. Bruce said the local dealer, Bob’s Dairy, has been “phenomenal” to work with. On a recent Saturday, during their daughter’s graduation party, an alarm went off at the milking barn, and someone showed up right away up to help.
“It took until 6 o’clock, but they got it figured out...not a grumble, not a whine,” he said.
Besides the robotic milker on display, the event will feature a polka band, a petting zoo with the family hogs and a booth set up by Star Blend to show how rumination occurs inside a cow’s stomach.
On-site parking will be available, and guests can also park at the Colby High School and get bus rides to and from the farm. Gumz said there will be plenty of special parking spots available for those with mobility issues so they don’t have to travel far.
A drive-through option will available again this year for those concerned about COVID-19 or others would prefer to eat their meals off-site.
Bruce said the forecast looks great for Sunday, but if it were to rain, their shed has plenty of room for people to stay dry inside while they wait and eat.
The 1,000-acre farm is located at 105323 CTH A. From Abbotsford, go north on STH 13 and then east on CTH A.
As always, the dairy breakfast wouldn’t be possible without all of the business sponsors and volunteers who provide the food everyone enjoys.
Jeanie Tesch of the Colby FFA Alumni said all of the dairy products for this year’s breakfast were supplied or paid for by Nasonville Dairy, Nicolet Bank, Tesch Farms, Ray’s Meat Mark, Star Blend and Kwik Trip.
These donations allow for more of the proceeds to go toward ag-related scholarships for Colby graduates.
“We are proud to say we have over 85 supporters for the whole breakfast from monetary donations to supplies,” she said. “We have over 100 people volunteering the day of the breakfast and days before the breakfast.
As hosts Bruce and Jolene said they appreciate all the people who show up to help.
“The more people that help, the easier it is, and the more enjoyable it is for everybody,” Jolene said. “It’s nice to see a community together and make something like this happen,” he said.
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