Tammy Wakely

dairy cattle • hay • corn • wheat

Tammy Wakely

Rockford, IL


The Cross-Wake Dairy Farm

John was raised on a dairy farm in McHenry County while I grew up on a hog and grain farm in Boone County. We moved to our current farm in 1998 and work in partnership with the Cross family, which is how our farm got its name: Cross-Wake Dairy.

We have 120 dairy cows and 110 heifers and calves on our farm. We grow 110 acres of hay and 170 acres of corn – both of which are used for the cows, as well as 20 acres of wheat.

The industry may change, but quality shouldn't

As farmers, we have to be open minded and willing to adapt to change. Like everything else in the world, farming evolves. I want you to know that we want to take the time to talk about your concerns about food and farming. But there's one thing you shouldn't worry about: Our farm family always does its best to make sure you have the highest quality, most nutritious food for your table.

Working together as a family

We chose farming because it was a way of working together as a family. We wanted to raise our four children in an environment that would foster a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. Over the years we've been able to build our herd into really nice purebred dairy cows. But the most rewarding thing has been seeing our children become committed and dedicated farmers.

About my family

We farm in Rockford, located in the northern part of Illinois. We have 120 dairy cows, 110 heifers and calves, and grow hay, corn and wheat. We have four children: Kevin, Jen, Holly and Josh.

My Blog Posts

Baby It's Cold Outside
Illinois Farmer Q&A: How has biotechnology changed your farm?
Keeping Our Cows Healthy


Keeping dairy cows safe, healthy and warm depends on more than the weather. Although being in the Midwest, weather extremes do have a big impact on animal care (cows don’t like January’s bitter cold any more than we do). It also depends on the animal’s age – dairy cattle have special needs as they grow. While the care we give them at each stage of life might be different, the level of care always remains our top priority.

Housing is one of the ways we cater to these special needs as our animals grow: 

  • Our baby calves live in a calf barn, each with their own individual hut and curtain sides that can be opened and closed depending on the temperature outside.
  • At two months old, our calves are weaned off milk and placed in groups that live in pens where they have access to a barn and the outdoors while they grow.
  • At 10 months, the heifers (young females) spend their days on pasture in the spring, summer and fall. We bring them into the barn during the cold winter weather.
  • Our milk cows, dry cows (cows that are resting before giving birth) and pregnant heifers (first-time moms) are all housed in free-stall barns with curtain sides that can open and close and have access to pastures or dirt lots in dry weather.
And, it’s not just about housing. We work very closely with our veterinarian throughout each stage of our animals’ lives. We have scheduled herd health checks every other Wednesday, but our vets will come to the farm any time – day or night – to treat a sick animal. Just like people, cows get sick from time to time, and our veterinarian helps us decide the best course of action to get them healthy again.