Bill and Kathi Orchard started Gurn-Z Meadow Farm together in 1971 after purchasing the farm from Bill’s parents Curtis and Violet Orchard. This farm was located in Eagle, Wis. and consisted of 140 acres and was home to a 50-cow herd of registered Guernseys.
The foundation of the Gurn-Z Meadow herd came from Bill’s parents’ Happy Acres herd, along with some purchases from the Pett Family. Many of the cows purchased from the Petts were fondly named after ladies of the church. In fact, Gurn-Z Meadow Heavenly Haven, who was named All-American Sr. 2 Year old in 2009, goes back 11 generations to Rolling Meadows Eva, who was born in September 1968.
In December of 2005 Bill and Kathi relocated the herd to a 120 acre farm in Janesville, Wis. This move was made to return to a farming focused community. Cows were milked in a tie-stall barn and just prior hosting the 2008 National Guernsey Convention a heifer facility was built that provides a bedded pack, scrap alley, feed alley with headlocks and curtain sidewalls.
The summer of 2012 Julie and her husband, Ed, purchased his family’s herd of Holsteins and they started construction in Columbus, Wis., on a Lely A4 robotic milking system and freestall barn. On November 28, the Holstein and Guernsey cows were transitioned to the new dairy. The goals of the facility are to maximize production, herd health and cow comfort. The barn is divided into two pens of 60 cows, each with its own robot. The Guernseys are housed together with the first lactation Holsteins and both breeds are treated the same.