The Johnson family, who live on a dairy farm near Valders in Manitowoc County, still can't believe they were selected as winners of the "Show Your Pride" national photo contest. Their prize? A visit to their farm from Green Bay Packers Kicker Mason Crosby.
The NFL, in partnership with America's dairy farmers and Dairy Management Inc., sponsored the photo contest to build excitement for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in more than 70,000 schools across the country. The contest's goal was to capture the pride dairy farmers have in their NFL teams, in the dairy industry and in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which encourages students to "fuel up" with nutrient-rich dairy foods and get 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
The Johnson family's photo was selected in a national online voting competition in November. They competed with photos from eight other farms and received the most votes to win. Farm family members include Brenda and Keith Johnson, their sons Ken and Craig and his wife Amy. Ken has four children; Tori, 23; Kayla, 21; Kassie, 19, and Brandyn, 14, and Craig and Amy have three children – Emmy, 15; Alyssa, 14; and Colten, 11.
The Johnsons milk 425 cows in a double-8 milking parlor at Johnson Hill Farms LLC. Their herd averages 90 pounds of milk per cow per day. They also raise 480 heifers and calves on the farm and have 60 dry cows. They expanded their dairy in 2008. The farm has been in the family since 1849.
Crosby visited the Johnson's dairy farm on Dec. 11. He arrived in a limousine and spent an hour at their farm. The Johnsons greeted him in the milking parlor.
"They let him do a mini tour of the farm," Amy says. "They didn't want him walking through a lot of snow because they didn't want to risk him falling and getting hurt."
Crosby milked a cow, hung out with the Johnsons and about 30 of their friends in the parlor and freestall barn, talked to them, asked questions about the farm and their family and posed for pictures.
"It was so neat to have him here on our farm," Amy said after Crosby left. "Our kids were so excited. They allowed us to have friends and farm employees here, too. It was awesome."
Amy said Crosby didn't mind milking a cow.
"He said this is the first time he had been on a dairy farm," Amy said. "He grew up in Texas and he said he had only ever seen ranches."
After Crosby left, Amy said, "It was a lot bigger deal than we all expected."
The Johnsons were the second Wisconsin farm to win the contest in a row. Last year, Matt Diederichs from Malone in Fond du Lac County won the contest and got a visit from retired Packers player Ahman Green.