Jackson Co. farm faces financial crisis, opens store for additional revenue

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HIXTON, Wis. (WEAU) -- Dairy farms across the state of Wisconsin are struggling to stay in business, but a local farm has come up with a new business plan to keep their family farm running. In addition to selling their product on the market, Justin and Darci Daniels opened Garden Valley Farmstead which is a store on their property to directly sell product from the cows born and raised on their Hixton farm.

"We're a small farm but we still produce between 40-500 pounds of cheese a day,” said Darci Daniels, the owner. Even with using all of that profit to put right back into their farm, it’s still a struggle to make ends meet. “When I was growing up that if you took care of your cows, that your cows would take care of you and that's not the case anymore,” she added.

Now, it's harder to compete with prices of bigger farms so their new strategy is keeping it local. “Farmers, especially small farmers just aren't getting paid quite enough what we need to cover our cost of production,” Daniels said.

So, they decided to open a store selling cheese, butter, ice cream and meat from the cows born and raised on their farm. “It's been incredible, the community support for our store and our business here at the farm or at the local farmers market has far exceeded our expectation of what we were going to do,” Daniels said.

Locals are stopping by the store and showing that small town farms play an important role. "When small farms are struggling or farms in general are struggling the whole community does,” Daniels added. Even though the store helps their bottom line, it comes at a price. "It's defiantly more stress to deal with,” said Justin Daniels. "There have been a lot of nights that we don't get a lot of sleep because we are working on things,” Darci added.

But these two parents say it's all worth it to be passing it on to the next generation and teaching their kids it's a labor of love. They have store hours on Fridays from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. but they plan to grow their marketing and have plans to grow and expand their store operations. The Garden Valley Farmstead is located at N9958 North Branch Road Hixton, WI. They also have more information on their Facebook page.