Below you will find short bios of each of our farmers. These are the people who labor in the fields to bring the best possible grain to Lonesome Stone Milling, and ultimately to you. It is from them that we all benefit.
Jim Jefferies, Richland Center
Growing wheat for Lonesome Stone Milling is Jim’s retirement job. After a career which included milking cows for 15 years and a job in Minneapolis, Jim has succumbed to the lure of growing wheat in our Driftless region. For 30 years he had hunted in Saskatchewan where he grew to respect the wheat growers there and now he has the honor of growing his own wheat on 40 acres near Richland Center. When he needed seed a couple of years back, and found himself at Lonesome Stone Milling, Gilbert first grilled him about his practices (!), and then was eager to invite him to become one of the LSM growers.
Jim did not grow up farming, but he spent summers on the farm of family friends in Nebraska where he learned to love being outdoors, rose to the many challenges of farming, and learned to work with the migrant workers on the farm and appreciate them. He loves the process of farming, the changing seasons, the uncertainty of the wind and storms and the fruition of a crop coming in well. “There is so much to it, it is amazing…” he says with awe in his voice.
Dave Dolan, Dodgeville, WI
Dave Dolan was one of the first farmers to grow grains for Lonesome Stone Milling in 2009. His farm, Dolan Farms, is on a high ridge in Iowa County, north of Dodgeville. From his fields he has a view far to the southwest of the windmills in Monfort, and to the east of Blue Mounds. One feels on top of the world there.
Dave grew up in a large farming family and, while he tried working off farm, he found that his destiny seemed to be tied to the land, and he returned to purchase the farm from his father. He speaks of his fields, his cows, his woods and his land with a quiet calm that belies the hard work he puts in every day. He clearly loves what he does, saying, “it just feels right.” He has hosted nieces and nephews for countless summers, passing on his knowledge and his love of the land to the next generation.
When asked what he likes about working with Lonesome Stone he quickly speaks of his high regard of Gilbert and his business model, and his focus on local food from local farmers.
John Chitwood, Blue River, Wi.
John is a third generation farmer in Blue River. He is farming on land his grandfather worked. His father farmed it. He raised his four children there. Like so many of our farmers, as a young man John had left the farm, gone to college, and was pursuing a non-farming career. However, when his father was tragically killed in a car accident, it wasn’t long before John, the eldest in the family, had returned home to take over the farm. He has been there ever since, some 50 years. He has deep roots in his farm.
Again, like so many of our farmers, John milked cows for “too many years.” Growing grains is just the right pace for him, he had had enough of the milking schedule! And he is proud of his grain. He peels back ears of corn to show how beautiful it is. Then he shows me how there is a tiny black line inside each kernel that shows that it is as mature as it will get. He marvels at the lush green of the cover crop mix he is trying for the first time. John is a delightful mix of generations of knowledge, and enthusiasm for learning. He wishes everyone in town could experience the seasons and the beauty as he does.