Boberg and the Beginning Farmer Bond
Tired of working at an industrial factory day in and day out for five years, Dean Boberg was looking for a change. He envied the lifestyle of his brother and cousin, both Wisconsin farm owners who spent their days working outdoors, setting their own hours, and most of all, being their own boss. Dean turned to his wife, Stacy, for support, and the Boberg family decided it was time to fly the coop and take their work life into their own hands.
In 1996, the Bobergs began their new venture as chicken farmers with the help of a $100,000 loan from WHEDA’s Beginning Farmer Bond (BFB) program. After learning how to raise chickens for profit from his family, Dean began raising a flock of nearly 14,000 in a large, new barn located on the outskirts of Trempealeau County. The Boberg’s farm was producing eggs by the thousands, leading them to a newfound satisfaction in their work.
The BFB program was created in 1993, after the state of California surpassed Wisconsin’s dairy production. The intention was to ensure success for the future of Wisconsin agriculture by providing opportunities for younger generations to purchase operations from retiring farmers. WHEDA’s involvement equipped local lenders with tax-exempt bonds, which allowed eager, new farmers below-market rates on their loans, enabling their business to start strong. The money could be used to buy farmland, buildings, equipment, and livestock.
By the end of his first year working in the industry, Boberg was enjoying his new life tending to his chickens’ every need. Relying on their fertilized eggs for income, Boberg’s hatching stock were sold and shipped off to other chicken growing facilities where the chicks matured into broilers for market.
WHEDA’s BFB program allowed Dean Boberg, along with many other Wisconsin farmers, to make big changes in their lives. Not only did these changes improve the lives of the farmers by allowing them to get into a more stable trade with better pay, but it enabled the agriculture industry in Wisconsin to reap the benefits for years to come. After all, what would Wisconsin be if not “America’s Dairyland”? Thanks to WHEDA’s financing along with the tenacity of the Bobergs, their agricultural venture meant that they would continue to earn more than just a “poultry” sum.