Dairy Industry Family Protects Land Along the Kickapoo

The Babson family, who played a key role in modernizing dairy farming, recently gifted an additional tract of land along the Kickapoo River to Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC). With this additional 983 acres, almost 2,278 contiguous acres along the Kickapoo have been protected by MVC  (a majority of the remaining 1,295 acres were also donated by the Babson family).

Jean Babson’s family owned the Chicago-based Surge milking machine business for many years. Jean and her late husband James (former president of the Babson Brothers Company) bought farms in this area along the Kickapoo 35 years ago and consolidated them to create a place for upwards of 1,000 beef cattle to graze on.

Jean has many fond memories of her family and friends gathering at a cabin they built above the Kickapoo River. The family will still maintain ownership of the cabin and the conservation easement property.

According to Jean: “James Babson had vision, had a love of the land. The whole place meant a lot to (him)…not just the cattle, but being here. It’s such a beloved part of the country that meant so much to me and (my husband), and it’s nice to know it’s going to be in good hands.”

Babson Aerials 9-29-09 032 Tunnelville Rd-40perc

Ariel view of Babson property.

Out of the 2,278 total acres protected by MVC, 1,271 acres are open for public access, including hiking, hunting, bird watching, fishing, trapping, canoeing and cross-country skiing.

Protecting the Babson property, “is an astonishing and welcome gift that gives further protection to important ecological features and wildlife on this spectacular part of the Wisconsin landscape,” said Tim Jacobson, executive director of MVC.