Knigge Farms is no stranger to visitors.
The farm routinely welcomes school and church groups, as well as travelers from across the country and around the world, to tour the family dairy business. Part of the allure is the fact that Knigge Farms became the first U.S. dairy to install and milk cows with robotic milkers 16 years ago.
However, this past fall, the farm opened up its doors to an entirely different type of audience. The reality television show “The Bachelor” selected Knigge Farms as the location for taping an episode of the show. “The Bachelor” began its 21st season on Jan. 2. Knigge Farms will be featured as part of a “group date” on the fourth episode, which is scheduled to air Jan. 23.
Down on the farm
During the taping, the cast of bachelorettes milked a cow, fed calves, cleaned a barn and in the final activity of the day, chased a wheel of LaClare Farms cheese down a hill in a competition. The cast ended their day at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh for a rose ceremony, where contestants are either eliminated or chosen to remain and compete the following week by receiving a rose from the bachelor.
“A show like ‘The Bachelor’ is a huge production,” says Pete Knigge, co-owner of Knigge Farms LLC. “We didn’t know what we were getting into. Fortunately, as the audio and video crew set up in our barn, the technology of the robotic milkers allowed the cows to be milked while the filming was taking place and we hosted the cast and crew. The whole family pitched in, and we told our farm story.”
The Knigges milk 130 cows; raise 170 heifers, calves and steers; and farm 600 acres. They also grow alfalfa, corn, soybeans, oats and wheat. In addition to robotic milkers, they use robotic calf feeders, a robotic feed pusher and robotic cow comfort brushes.
“It was a fun day,” says Charlie Knigge, Pete's son, also a co-owner of Knigge Farms LLC. “Our farm was able to show the cast and the entire crew what modern dairy farming looks like. I’m excited for a national television audience to see it as well.”
The crew showed up at 10 a.m. on Oct. 7 and stayed until the sun was setting around 6:30 p.m. that evening.
“It was a bit of a circus around here that day; however, the opportunity sounded too good to pass up. Too few people today have a strong connection to where their food comes from,” says Charlie. “We want to clear up some of the mystery around modern dairy and crop farming.”
Submitted by the Knigge family