John T. Pagel

Building A Wisconsin Dairy Family Legacy

Family Photo - John Pagel

John grew up on the Pagel Family’s homestead farm purchased by his parents, Carl and Garnet, in 1946—80 acres, 8 cows, 6 pigs and a few chicken. Their 7 children, John being the youngest, were always involved in the farm work. Adopting the typical Wisconsin farm-family work ethic necessary to support their growing family, the farmstead’s land and animals that provided their livelihood.

Because their dairy farmstead was located less than 7 miles from Lake Michigan and bordered by the Kewaunee River near several wildlife preserves and wooded recreational areas—the Pagel’s felt their bountiful spread of land deserved a fitting title.

In the 1960s the family named their growing homestead Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, after their favorite TV show--Bonanza and its Ponderosa ranch home for the Cartwright family.

John purchased the Ponderosa Dairy from his parents in 1980, after attending the U.W.-Madison Farm Short Course Program where he was prepared to be a progressive dairy businessman as well as a steward of their land and its environment.

Just like the strong family members that came before them, John’s 3rd generation family of 4 children were raised and worked on the Ponderosa Dairy homestead. Ponderosa’s growth created responsibilities and opportunities for his children as well as many of his employees as they grew Pagel‘s homestead farm together.

All of John’s family members remain in the business, and the Pagel’s 4th generation, of 10+ grandchildren, is on the Pagel’s homestead regularly, preparing them to carry on John T.’s dairy farming legacy.

John’s passion has led to two new businesses—Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese retail outlet and a distribution company in nearby Luxemburg; and the “Cannery”—their specialty retail and foodservice outlet in Green Bay’s Cannery Public Market, opening in 2015.

Part of that passion was to make a farm fresh product that he could deliver to the consumer ensuring high quality and traceability. So on behalf of me and my family, please enjoy your Ron’s Wisconsin Cheese!