The moment you step onto Marty Mellenthin’s Eau Galle farm, you feel what Thoreau would describe as “youthful exuberance!” while sitting at Walden Pond. Marty Mellenthin surrounds himself with family and wouldn’t want it any other way.
As the idyllic “family farm life” disappears with new generations, Marty is ensuring the future generations that bear the Mellenthin family name have Mellenthin Farms running efficiently and profitably.
Mellenthin Farms spans 10,000 acres across five counties: Dunn, Pepin Buffalo, Pierce, and St. Croix. Marty and his son Tony run the entire operation, mainly soybeans, with their family members chipping in and supporting the employees.
Tony is the recent past President of the Wisconsin Soybean Association, a current member of the United Soybean Board, a member of the Bear Creek Watershed Group, and a board member of the Pepin County Farm Management Club.
Farm management is something Tony must have studied closely when following his dad around the farm as a child because Marty understands the importance of not only land conservation but energy conservation as well.
“This is a family operation for sure,” Tony Mellenthin said.
In 2020, Marty and Tony expanded the operation building 80,000 square feet of mixed-use space to house equipment in the winter, fix equipment year-round, have an office space and meeting rooms for employees, and a kitchen area for lunch breaks. Already committed to energy efficiency, they added an HE Boiler, HE Furnace, LED Lighting, and irrigation VFD's.
“Incentives definitely help,” Mellenthin said. “Those go that extra mile so that you do all you can.”
The Mellenthins have worked with Focus on Energy as well as their utility, Xcel Energy for projects over the last 20 years. In 2010, Marty added a larger grain dryer that is 30% more efficient and changed production from 400 bushels an hour to 2,500 an hour!
“We try to do everything we could to keep it nice and efficient,” Mellenthin said. “It’s good for everybody.”
“Having the young ones here today, that’s what it’s about,” Wisconsin 31st District State Senator Jeff Smith said. “What you are doing is ensuring that they have a much better probability of success in the future.”
“These sorts of things don’t come about in a vacuum,” Wisconsin 93rd Assembly District State Representative Warren Petryk said. “It takes a lot of focus and a lot of sacrifice on the part of all the family members, young and old.”
Petryk presented a declaration from the Wisconsin State Legislature honoring the Mellenthin Family for their Focus on Energy Efficiency Excellence Award and for all the work they do sustaining Wisconsin’s agribusiness.
Marty is quick to tell you why he calls his Focus on Energy advisor for any of these projects. He tells you when he’s hugging his grandchildren, teaching them the intricacies of farming, or just sitting outside watching them play as the sun sets behind his fields.
“One of the reasons we did a lot of this is so that it is sustainable for the generations to come.”
Focus on Energy provided more than $13,000 in incentives for the 2020 project which will save an estimated 175,599 kWh in just the first year and an estimated 12,727 therms over the lifespan of the equipment.
In addition, Mellenthin Farms participated in Xcel Energy's Mid-Market program which provides additional incentives and resources for businesses, farms, schools, multifamily buildings, and government facilities.
Eau Galle, WI
Xcel Energy (Northern States Power)