Farm Horizons, December 2012

Bonnie the Bongards cow is the cream of the crop

By Starrla Cray

It’s probably a good thing Bonnie isn’t a real cow.

If she were, her owners at Bongards’ Creamery wouldn’t be able to let her stand outside their retail store just off Highway 212 east of Norwood Young America.

Plus, it would take a lot of hay and grain to keep Bonnie from bellowing and waking up the neighbors.

At more than 10 feet tall, Bonnie is the biggest cow around – living or otherwise.

“We’ve had the cow since 1970,” office manager Karen Nagel said. “I remember the day it was delivered; it was dropped off outside the office, and the cow was looking at me through the second-story window.”

The idea to purchase a giant fiberglass cow came from Jack Budahn, who was Bongards’ Creamery’s general manager at the time.

“We purchased it from a company in Sparta, WI that makes all kinds of fiberglass animals,” Nagel said, adding that the name “Bonnie” was chosen because it sounded good with “Bongards.”

Bonnie’s first home was in front of the main office at the plant, but in 2008 (the same year as the creamery’s 100th anniversary), she moved across the street to Bongards’ Country Store. The store was expanded during this time, and now offers lunches with treats like homemade pizza, fresh coffee, milk, sandwiches, soups, brats, and chili. And, of course, a tantalizing assortment of cheese.

A countless number of people have taken their photographs with Bonnie through the years – including a bride and groom. Most often, through, children are the ones especially excited by the experience.

“A lot of kids stand underneath the udders,” Nagel said. “Some take pictures with their mouths underneath, like they’re drinking milk.”

Students from St. John’s Lutheran School in Norwood Young America take a field trip to see Bonnie at least once a year.

“The kids love the cow – they would like to try and milk it,” one staff member noted.

Although extracting milk from a cow like Bonnie might be a bit tricky, she does have a number of admirable qualities – such as long-lasting good looks.

Most dairy cows are lucky to live 20 years, but at more than twice that age, Bonnie is still as beautiful as ever. Granted, she has been repainted several times, which has undoubtedly helped.

To see Bonnie in person, make a stop at Bongards’ Country Store, located at 13200 County Rd. 51 in Bongards. Store hours are Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (952) 466-3545 or go to

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