Since 1967, Circle N Family Dairy has been dedicated to the time-honored tradition and heritage of family farming. Launched by family patriarch Charles Neu, the farm has always been a family affair involving Neu’s wife, Mary and their six children, including their son Tommy.
Tommy Neu joined his father in the dairy after high school, and in 1999, he and his wife, Michelle, took over the family business after Charles retired. The couple built a freestall barn that provides the animals with a clean, dry, comfortable resting area and easy access to food and water. The cows are not restrained and are free to enter, lie down, rise and leave the barn whenever they desire. They also created a more automated system and even began working with a nutritionist to ensure the health of their cows.
“Healthy cows produce the best quality milk,” explains Tommy. “Our herd is grass fed on pasture and supplemented with feedstuffs such as hay and silage that is grown right here on our farm.”
Although the cows can come and go as they please, they often prefer to be outdoors. When they do venture inside, they come back to a freestall barn with rubber-filled mattresses and a temperature that is regulated. “We pamper our cows, equipping the barn with a misting system, cooling fans and slots for individual feeding, so they are comfortable, well-nourished and healthy,” Tommy says. The Neus’ passion for dairy farming is evident in all they do—from the way the cows are treated to the services they provide. In 2010, Circle N Dairy built a store in the old dairy barn and began selling raw milk and raw cream after receiving a permit from the state. According to the Neus, raw milk and cream are all natural and unpasteurized, the way nature intended.
Our children grew up on raw milk, so we have seen the benefits,” notes Michelle. “We wanted to be able to share what we know and give people the opportunity to see the benefits for themselves.” She says the milk has been tested thoroughly by the state and is absolutely safe for consumption— not to mention that the bottled milk products are “better tasting, more wholesome and provide optimum nutrition for you and your family.”
The Neus insist the benefits of raw milk are manifold. “Because the milk is not heated, the enzymes are not destroyed and therefore, it’s more digestible,” states Tommy. He says websites such as Raw-Milk-Facts.com and Real-Milk.com are a great source of information for consumers looking for a list of benefits and other information.
According to Michelle, buying the milk right on the farm also has its advantages. “It is the best way to guarantee that you are getting the best quality milk,” she explains. “Although many people are trying to make raw milk available in stores or farmers’ markets, buying it on the farm, actually meeting the farmer and seeing where your milk comes from is so much better.”
In addition to raw milk and raw cream, Circle N Dairy also offers farm fresh eggs, along with a large variety of Wisconsin cheese (which is not made with raw milk). The family welcomes visitors to the farm and offers tours to small groups such as preschools, 4-H groups and homeschoolers. They say it’s a great way to educate children—and parents—about where their foods comes from and why farming is important.
Although changes have been made at Circle N Dairy over the years, one thing remains the same: their dedication to family tradition. The Neus’ youngest son, Kevin, works with them on the farm, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. “This has always been a family operation and we like it that way and want it to continue,” says Tommy.
Circle N Family Dairy is located four miles west of I-35, on US 82, in Gainesville, TX. For more information or a tour, call 940-372-0343 or visit CircleNDairy.com.