VIROQUA, Wis. (WXOW) – Declining milk sales did not deter the Torgerson family from hosting the Vernon County Dairy Breakfast at their small dairy farm.
The Torgerson’s are well aware of the hard work it takes to run a dairy farm, but they’re able to maintain it by working together, even when faced with an unexpected challenge. Dale Torgerson runs the farm and he was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease that prevented him from farming.
“In 2011 in February I got Guillain Barre Syndrome,” Dale said. “It paralyzed me from my head down.” He describes the syndrome as a similar feeling when your foot falls asleep, except it happens all over your body.
“Knowing that he still can’t feel anything in his hands,” Dale’s daughter Erin Torgerson said. “During the winter he doesn’t wear gloves so say, ‘Make sure you’re not getting frostbite on your hands. He’s like yeah I know.'”
Extended farming family helped take care of the cows and other animals while Dale was hospitalized for 62 days and then continued to help while he made the slow recovery.
“As he progressed he started with rehab with walking with crutches and by the end of rehab he was working on golf swings,” Vernon Memorial Healthcare Physical Therapist Jessica Addington said. “So it’s just going from something that was very hard initially and then working on progressing back to normal life.”
Eight years later Dale is back to farming and healed enough to start teaching his daughter Erin the ropes of the farm and together they milk 40 cows on their small farm. In May, the family became organically certified and started selling milk through Westby Creamery.
The family was celebrated at the breakfast and Erin was named a Dairy Ambassador by the Dairy Promotional Committee.
“It’s an honor to have such a large group of people come and enjoy what we get to enjoy every day,” Brenda Torgerson said.
Proceeds from the breakfast went to the promotional committee.