Cottonwood Ridge Dairy Puts the Family in Family Farm

June 21, 2017

Paulsen Account Specialist Brittany Lessman’s work here is just part of a very full day that also involves her family’s dairy farm near Garretson, South Dakota.

“My day-to-day work varies from doing calf chores either before I come to work or when I get home,” Brittany says. “And of course, there’s the same work on the weekend.”

Cottonwood Ridge Dairy is a true family farm operation, with parents and siblings living on three farms within a three-mile radius.

Brittany’s parents, Brad and Monica Nussbaum, are the main operators of the dairy. They are on the main farm with cattle and milking facilities that currently serve between 120 and 130 Holstein cows, along with the dry cows that are of breeding age or are pregnant.

Brittany and her husband Kyle are just down the road; raising between 120 and 130 calves ranging in age from a week old to breeding age.

“My husband and I have all the heifers at our place, so that is our after-five job,” Brittany says.

Sister Stephanie and her husband Brett are on the farm that belonged to her grandparents until they moved to Brandon. All the grain is housed on their farm.

Cottonwood Ridge Dairy was the first to install a newly built robotic, free-stall milking barn in South Dakota. Milking is done by two Lely Astronaut robotic milkers, capable of milking about 60 cows per robot, 24 hours a day.

“The cows are milking an average of four times per cow, per day,” Brittany says. “We’re near capacity right now because we just had 20 new baby calves this month. We only have the robots in the dairy barn right now. We’d love to implement an automated feeding system for the baby calves as well.”

In celebration of June as Dairy Month, it’s important to know that milk is produced in all 50 states, and those dairy farms, like Cottonwood Ridge, are overwhelmingly family-owned and managed.

“It’s definitely a family operation,” Brittany says. “My sister’s the herd manager, and Kyle and Brett are involved as well. Mom and Dad are still the main operators, and Stephanie and I own pieces and parts. We definitely put the family in family farming!”

You can learn more about Cottonwood Ridge Dairy and their unique operation by visiting their Facebook page at


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