Nasonville Dairy: Adjusting with the times
By Kris Leonhardt
Since the 1960s, Nasonville Dairy’s business model has expanded to include multiple companies in addition to the original cheese factory that started it all.
“We have the plant up on (State Highway) 29, the mail order company and in conjunction with that Weber’s Farm Store, Heiman Holsteins — those are agricultural physical (entities) — but also Heiman Trucking, Heiman Brothers. There are six different agencies that are all under one agricultural pyramid,” said Nasonville Dairy CEO Ken Heiman.
Even with the growth of the company, the Heiman family has stayed dedicated to the Marshfield community, using local companies as suppliers, contractors, and for repairs.
“Everything is right here,” said Kim Heiman, who heads up production. “We are able to utilize everybody right here in town. If you have a question, they are right here.”
With an ever-changing agricultural environment, Nasonville remains relevant by expanding and adjusting to the economy as well as the culture. Always repositioning themselves, the Heimans are working on their next advancements in the industry.
“We are embarking on better development of more things to the retail,” Ken explained. “We don’t do very much retail. Ninety-nine percent of our business is in food service. We own enough labels. We feel that the labels we have our adequate and will look good.
“Agriculture is something that has a total evolution. It just keeps going. … Our ultimate goal is to be able to figure out how to address what keeps coming down the road with new ideas and new innovations, everything from omega-3s to more kosher to non-GMO to organic.”
Though the Heimans strive to follow the trends of the industry, they are never far from their roots. Family remains an important factor in the business.
“There are three of us, six sons, one brother-in-law, three nieces, and nine or 10 nephews scattered throughout (the business),” Ken explained. “As brothers, we are equal in everything. … If anyone does something, it has to be for the betterment of all families, so all families are treated the same.”
The Heimans’ work in the agriculture field has brought them various awards on the national, state, and local levels, including Nasonville Dairy being named the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2017 Firm of the Year for its economic impact, community service, and community enhancement and enrichment.
Ken was recently was presented with the highest honor given by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, receiving the 2017 Life Member Award. He is one of only 85 to be presented with the award since its creation in 1918.