Compassion for critters on a snowy day

This weather is fit for neither man nor beast. But as snow and wind whips rural Milan on Tuesday, it’s just another day at Wesley Acres.

“We’re out the first time at 6 o’clock every morning,” said Jim Johansen.

Johansen is a retired salesman-turned-farmer who trudges through the elements to feed his animals. It’s a task he’ll repeat four times each day. That’s a lot of milking and feeding.

“When it’s zero degrees and the wind is blowing, everybody else wants to sit at the table and drink coffee,” he said. “The farmers who have livestock have to go out and take care of it. That’s required.”

Johansen won’t let this weather get his goat. That’s because he raises dozens of Alpine Dairy Goats. Each one has a name. On this day, Loretta is about to become a mom for the second time.

“They greet me each morning,” he said. “The minute I step into the barn, they’re talking and making noises.”

These goats have it pretty good. Their insulated barn never dips below 40 degrees. The friendly critters like to snuggle, enjoy classical music and like humans, too.

“The goats are quite comfortable,” he continued. “They’re spoiled. They would live in the snow outside but not survive well with the babies.”

Jim and his wife Linda have grown to love their furry friends. They even named a kid Bekah after their own daughter.

“They become part of your operation so much that you hate to see them go when you have to part with them,” he concluded.

No kidding around, it’s heart-warming for Jim Johansen. Each step in the snow is a labor of love.

Wesley Acres is part of a family farm that dates back to 1937. You’ll find it at 2800 Coyne Center Road in Milan.

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