Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Strobel brings her experience to the Farm Center

Strobel brings her experience to the Farm Center

Media Contact: Ashley Andre 608-224-5002

Jim Dick, Communications Director 608-224-5020

MADISON – Christy Strobel enjoys meeting with farmers at their kitchen table. It’s where they will point to the wall with all their farm pictures and share their farm’s story. Her goal is to make sure those farmers have story to keep telling and an opportunity to hang another picture on the wall, so that family farm legacy can continue into the future.

That is why she joined the Wisconsin Farm Center. Strobel began work at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in February.

“Christy has a great ability to dive deep into farm finances and uncover opportunities to increase profitability and cash flow,” said Kathy Schmitt, DATCP’s Bureau Director of Farm Services and Sector Development. “She brings passion and a wonderful skill set that will be an asset to the division.”

Strobel grew up on a 6-acre farmette in Watertown, raising sheep, being involved in 4-H and FFA, and working on a local dairy farm. She and her two brothers are all active in production agriculture and her 4-H and FFA commitment continues with her two daughters, Kristin (14) and Allie (12).

She earned a degree in Ag business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the years, Strobel gained experience at Alta Genetics, the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency, and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

In 2009, a light bulb went off for Strobel. It was a difficult period for farmers and not all dairies had the financial team in place to deal with the complexity of these issues or with the changes they would see to Ag lending in the future. She realized that Ag economics class she took in college was not only her favorite and an easy A but it could also be the foundation for a rewarding career connecting her two passions of agriculture and business.

As a way to balance her professional life and family time, Strobel became a financial manager in her own start-up business, AG Track, LLC. Through her independent work, she assisted farmers and agribusinesses in maximizing their profitability through cash flow planning, problem solving and extended risk management services. Earlier this year, an opportunity opened up to bring her skills to DATCP’s Wisconsin Farm Center.

“I looked at what the Farm Center offered, what Dairy 30×20 offered, what farmers needed and what I could add to benefit the industry,” explained Strobel. “I had interacted with DATCP before when assisting clients, and I was excited for the potential influence I could make on Wisconsin agriculture.”

In the Farm Center, she wants to help provide farmers with the tools to increase profitability, create a cash flow plan and help farmers stay in business. She wants to offer farmers guidance on how they can successfully find a business and employee management structure that works for them.

The top advice Strobel has for all farmers is that you need farm records; accurate ones. She points out that farm business management is much different and is far more important than just keeping a balanced checkbook. They are the starting points for all other financially-based documents and decisions.

“Farm records cannot be the last priority at the end of a 15-hour work day. Many farmers are about the cows or the crops, but not necessarily about the paperwork,” added Strobel. “You can’t control the weather or the commodity prices, but you can help control the budget and the direction of your business by knowing your numbers. Positioning yourself to withstand adversity by making a commitment to your records and consciously making decisions with a broad scale understanding of your financial position will always define a successful dairy, especially when matched with great employees.”

Strobel brings experience to the Farm Center working with mid-sized dairies. She really believes, though, that dairy can profit at any size.

“The ins and outs of farming are the same no matter how many cows you have,” said Strobel. “It is about balancing the liabilities, developing efficiencies, and working within the means of your operation.”

Strobel adds that it all comes down to the cost of production and operating your dairy in the most profitable way.

Strobel enjoys getting out of the office and out onto the farm. Some of her favorite days are working for her brother’s dairy, hauling manure, providing field tillage or helping with harvest efforts.

“Farmers are great people to work for. I really enjoy how my job allows me to work with different people,” concluded Strobel. “This is the industry I have always been dedicated to and will always be in.”

The Wisconsin Farm Center services include conflict mediation, energy-related issues, financial planning, counseling, herd-based diagnostics, transition assistance and minority farmer outreach. All services are offered at no charge to the farmer.

The Wisconsin Farm Center is accessible weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To request assistance, call the toll-free hotline 1-800-942-2474 or email