Dairy and Tourism

Cozy Nook Farm in Waukesha takes advantage of their suburban setting to give non-farm folks the opportunity to learn all about modern dairy operations.

Joan Oberhaus shows visiting children the ins and outs of feeding cows.

Urbanization struck Waukesha County many decades ago. Interestingly, Waukesha County was known as Cow Country USA in the 1950s, because it had more cows than any other county in the United States. Today, the county only has about 2,900 cows in fewer than three dozen herds.

Urban development is no stranger to Cozy Nook Farm, now owned by Tom and Joan Oberhaus. Joan's ancestors (the Wendt family) established the farm in 1834 near the present day Goerkes Corners (intersection of I-94 and Highway 18/Blue Mound Road). In 1957, the state purchased their land to build I-94. The Wendts moved the farm to its current location (Highway 18, between Waukesha and Wales) in what was rural Waukesha County.

Urban sprawl once again has reached Cozy Nook Farm. Rather than fighting the sprawl, Tom and Joan welcome visitors from far and wide and added an agri-tourism enterprise to their farm business–offering educational tours and selling pumpkins, gourds, squash and corn in the fall, and Christmas trees, wreaths and swags during the holidays.

During tours, Tom and Joan explain the full life cycle of a cow and the value of dairy farms to communities and the state. By explaining agriculture to non-farmers, they give people a real opportunity to see how modern farms operate, up close and personal.

Tom and Joan Oberhaus welcome their urban neighbors and visitors from far and wide and added an agri-tourism enterprise to their farm business.

They also share this opportunity with non-farm 4-H members. Cozy Nook opens its doors to youth, including those who don't live on a farm and want to learn more about the dairy industry, cows, hard work and dedication. After spending some time at Cozy Nook, youth can show a heifer at the local fair. Tom and Joan enjoy teaching them about the science behind healthy and happy cows, and hope that some of the youth will choose agricultural careers, and keep Wisconsin's agricultural traditions strong for future generations.

Visit Cozy Nook Farm to learn more about the Oberhaus operation.