Trautman Dairy Farm Shut Down

Trautman Family in the Snow

Its a Long Cold Winter but this Farmer is Standing Tall

Wisconsin Dairy Farmer Has Great Vision for “Golden Age of Family Farming”

He was the young boy, standing on the side of his grandfathers’ fields, who would watch the tractor until it stopped to give him a ride. He also loved sitting atop the moving combine, in those days it was open air and dust and dirt flew up all around him. But he loved it.

His grandparents on both sides were farmers. But farming skipped a generation in his family. The 80’s were a tough time for farmers, and his mom and dad found other dreams.

Scott Trautman Horsing Around with His Cow

Scott Trautman Horsing Around with His Cow

At age 8, Scott Trautman started his entrepreneurial and agricultural career – selling pumpkins grown in their modest garden, door-to-door to neighbors. He gained a love of the farm from an early age, spending time on his grandparents farm, and any chance to be with farmers and drive farm equipment he took.

Scott throughout childhood would tell family and friends, “I want to be a farmer” – and although they found it cute, they recognized the impossibility of starting  a farm.  He plugged on, working on a farm throughout high school, also raising his own small livestock and crop operation. Yet, the realities of life and the 80’s were such that school and a career in business/computers took him to the opposite end of the career world.

In 1994, he launched an internet business, which Scott said, “was the exact right time”. Companies that started earlier or later didn’t make it, but for Scott the timing was perfect and his company grew.

From Little Boy’s Dream To Grown Up Reality

Julie Trautman Milking Wanda

Julie Trautman Milking Wanda

In 2001, Scott decided to purchase a farm. His growing business and his client’s needs held him captive, and he decided as long as he couldn’t get away from it, he would run his business from a “gilded cage,” which to him meant a farm.

He and his wife found 40 beautiful acres and a nice house, in May 2002 he moved his operations there.

The following year, he put the whole farm into pasture, attended a few farming conferences, and implemented an aggressive fertility program with the ideas he gleaned from conference speakers and reading Joel Salatin’s books.

His passion for farming was rekindled, his entrepreneurial instincts kicked in. He sensed in the organic farming movement the same energy and excitement of the early internet days. In 2004, he sold his internet company, so he would not have to take on a lot of debt to begin farming.

The New Business of Farming, and a New Marketing Model

Little Chicks

Little Chicks on Trautman Farm

He started small. One chicken, one pig, a garden. Implementing the most productive ideas a little at a time.

By 2006, Scott had laid the foundation, and took a look at his farm’s capacity. With the limit of 40 acres, he decided to move toward dairy farming. He started with one cow. The farm grew to 4 cows, then 6, currently he has 20. Ultimately, he feels his acreage can support 30-40 dairy cows and affiliated livestock.

Scott believes in mixed use, diversified farms. From his business perspective, the huge monoculture farms leave farmers in poor negotiating position. They are beholden to one master, who buys their product and names the price, which is often not favorable to the farmer. Whereas, a farmer with multiple products and a diversified customer base has more control over his income and his future.

Until earlier this year, Scott’s milk was sold to the National Farmers Organization. But they abruptly canceled his contract, when a relief driver with a bad attitude reported his suspicions that Scott was selling his raw milk.

Shortly after his contract was canceled, an undercover agent from DATCP visited his wife with a pitiful story about a sick child. His wife, in spite of considerable pressure, did not sell the milk to the stranger.

The Brutal Reality of Consumer Protectionism

Farm Life is Fun, and Full of Responsibility

Farm Life is Fun, and Full of Responsibility

On October 16, 2009, a month after NFO canceled his contract, DATCP was back to his farm, with a summary special order, telling him to cease and desist all milk sales; the Trautman farm now had no market for its milk.

Now, tell this to any husband, and the father of three children, ages 6, 11, 9,  “You are forbidden to farm, your only means of providing for your family.”  Obviously, that man will protest, and Scott did.


I first learned of Scott from this YouTube Video of him pouring out his milk in what looked to be a town square. He is weeping, and saying, “There is nothing wrong with my milk. Nothing.” It brought tears to my eyes.

Uppity Farmers Can and Will be Punished

Now, the state regulators have taken away his meat license. He can’t sell the milk. Now, he can’t sell the meat. They are trying to ruin him (see this blog post, Scott Trautman We Will Break You by The Complete Patient blog) because he rose his voice in defense of his livelihood, his freedom to farm and his right to private direct sales.

Having a Hay Day

Having a Hay Day

Currently, Scott is removing the cream from his milk and stockpiling butter, “a lifetime supply,” he sighs. With the skim milk, he is feeding his calves. A high end cheese maker is interested in buying his milk, a potential customer. Still, DATCP is throwing up roadblocks, telling him in order to sell his milk, he now must make expensive modifications to his previously state approved milking parlor.

Scott’s Unfailing Vision: From Gilded Cage to Golden Age

Even with all these tribulations, this resilient farmer says, “I believe a Golden Age of Farming is in store for Wisconsin Dairymen, if we can just get the bureaucracy out of our way.” He never wants to give up dairy farming, even under this duress. “It would be a tragedy, well beyond our farm, for us to give up dairy farming,” he explained.

Wisconsin is a proud dairy state, but its once 56,000 dairy farms have dwindled to 13,000. And, Scott is convinced, the current attitude of state regulators will result in the rest of the small dairy farms like his, failing. The regulators have a hit list of cow boarding programs they are determined to shut down. As they do, they may snuff out the only hope that these fine family farms have to survive.

How can Scott remain so hopeful? He believes that we are going through a paradigm shift. He compares the pioneering role of raw milk farmers to how it was for early adapters to the internet. People initially rejected the internet when it was new and expanding.

We Love our Cows!

We Love our Cows!

“Many people said, oh, that is going to be nothing! A few people say that today, but they now seem ignorant. Organic food is another example, initially it was scoffed at, now it is hot. With raw milk, we are now at the peak of resistance, yet, I believe that within 5-10 years people will look back and say, ‘what was the big deal over raw milk?'”

“Every day of my life has been leading to this moment.  I am prepared for the role I am playing now, I accept that being on the leading edge will have pain associated with it. But I have done it before, and am more than willing to lead the charge again. The tide is really turning this year,” Scott enthused.

How You Can Help Save the Small Family Dairy Farm

A facebook page, the Wisconsin Alliance for Raw Milk (WARM) was launched by blogger David Michael, a concerned raw milk consumer and currently boasts 500 members. No matter where you live, Scott encourages you to Fan the page in solidarity with the family dairy farmers of Wisconsin. You can also follow and comment at Scott’s blog.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is planning an International Raw Milk Symposium this Spring in Wisconsin, to support Scott and other farmers like him. Legislation has also been introduced in the state legislature, to allow legal raw milk sales. Watch this blog for more details when they are available.

Visit Scott’s website:

Wisconsin Alliance for Raw Milk:

To donate to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund who is working on Scott’s behalf, please visit their website:

See press release by WAPF on Wisconsin Raw Dairy “Outbreaks”


  1. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Scott let me know that since his interview for this article, he has been able to obtain a county meat license. So winter just got a little warmer for him and his family! Please keep Scott and all the other dairy farmers in your prayers.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this, Kimberly. I really appreciate seeing all the photos and the video made me cry, too. This medium is such a powerful way to get the message out about what is happening to our family farms in this country. It’s such a horrible shame that we have lost so many farms in the past several decades.

    My grandpa and great-grandpa had to stop farming in Ohio and take factory jobs. Our family still owns the land but it’s being rented out and guess what’s growing there now? Genetically modified soybeans, of course! Now my extended family, still living on that farm, shops at the Wal-Mart instead of raising their own chickens and vegetables like they used to do.

    I am praying for the Trautmans, along with all the other farmers I pray for every day. God bless them. And thanks again for getting the word out!

    If you’re reading this comment, please share this post on Facebook or Twitter or Stumble Upon. More people need to read this and know what is happening in our country.
    .-= Ann Marie @ CHEESESLAVE´s last blog ..My Radio Interview on the Liberation Wellness Hour =-.

  3. Lisa Imerman says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, I am going to link it to our chapter’s facebook page. Our chapter has donated $13,000 this year as we really feel that the FTCLDF needs all the help they can get as we can’t afford to let the farms fail and the farmers who produce our healthy food and support our local economies to stand alone. Thank god for the Scott Trautmans of the world!!!

  4. We have bought both a 1/4 cow and a half a pig from the Trautman’s. They have the best tasting meat! Plus it’s meat I can feel good about buying and serving my family. It’s too far to drive for milk …. but given DATCP lately it’s hard to find any raw milk around. Sad. I’m glad that he got his meat license back. My daughter loved going with me to pick up meat – the Trautman girls would show her around the farm and let her chase chickens.

  5. Stanley Fishman says:

    Kimberly, I also want to thank you for posting this. This story is hearbreaking, but farmers like Scott give me great hope.

    We should all buy as much of our food as possible from farmers like him. Also, there should be a national right to farm law to protect small farmers from the type of prosecution that Scott is suffering.

  6. This makes me so sad and angry.

  7. There was a recent bust in Athens, GA- folks transporting fresh raw milk from SC.

    Ga Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-43) has introduced a Dairy Consumer Choice Act to the General Assembly.
    Georgia Citizens, encourage your rep to cosponsor!
    Others, encourage your rep to carry similar legislation!
    here’s a link

    Our prayers and support go out to all farmers and consumers of raw milk, that they may be able to govern themselves unencumbered so long as they harm none.

  8. Kimberly Hartke says:

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, look what else is going on, a large 4000 cow dairy farm wants to double in size to 8000 cows confined in stalls/alternating with a milking merry-go-round. These cows must miss the green grass and sunshine, not to mention, movement.

    And, this kind of farming is going on while Trautman is shut down. Decide for your self whose milk you want to drink.

  9. Susan B,
    I am a WAPF chapter leader in Madison, WI. Contact me at 608-221-8696 and maybe I can help you find a source for raw milk.

  10. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Here is Pete Kennedy, Attorney and President of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, who explains the situation in Wisconsin.

    There will be an important hearing on March 10 in Eau Claire. See Kathryn Pirtle’s blog for details.
    If you can make it please BE THERE, Scott Trautman and others like him need your support.

  11. Jill Cruz says:

    I was wondering if he might like to start a camp for the summer. In Europe many farmers supplement their income by having people stay on their farm. I think a lot of people would love a good farm experience, especially for kids!

  12. This is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. I wish them all the best!!!

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  14. jXrCrichtontb says:

    you’ve an important blog right here! would you prefer to make some invite posts on my blog?


  1. Performance without Pain :: Optimal Nutrition via Nutrient Dense Foods » Please Help One of Our Wisconsin Farmers says:

    […] more info: Tax deductible donations can be made through Farm-to-Consumer Foundation. You must specify for […]

  2. […] For more info: […]

  3. […] Pictures on this post (except the one below) are also via Kimberly Hartke’s blog. […]

  4. […] Posted by Kevin Brown on July 10, 2010 Special From Kimberly Hartke […]

  5. […] Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) over the weekend about Wisconsin, in particular. Ever since learning of Scott Trautman’s troubles (click on this link to see a video that will make you cry) with the state regulators, I have been […]

  6. […] second farm has been denied the right to sell his milk by state ag officials. His naturally raised product effectively condemned. Farmer number one has no […]

  7. […] this is why farmers like Scott Trautman and Max Kane are considered so dangerous (see my blog post about Trautman Farm being shut down and my blog post about Max Kane being deemed an enemy of the state). They are independent thinkers […]

  8. […] you imagine? Scott Trautman (who is quoted in the TIME article) or Mark McAfee, TIME Person of the […]

  9. […] Scott Trautman is a Wisconsin farmer who was unceremoniously dropped by a large dairy concern  for suspected fresh milk sales. Now, many other farms in the Organic Valley cooperative may face a similar fate. […]

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