John & Nettie Rosenow  -  Partners  Rosenholm Wolfe Dairy

Loren Wolfe                         

About Us       A History of the Business

Cowsmo Incorporated was created in 2006. It is a continuation of a business that originally was a part of Rosenholm Wolfe Dairy, a partnership of LorenWolfe, Nettie Rosenow and me, John Rosenow. We have been making compost for 23 years and have been farming on our farms for 5 generations after my great-great-grandparents immigrated here from Germany. My great grandfather, also John Rosenow had 6 sons and 3 of those became farmers. One of them Louis was my grandfather. The three sons farmed adjacent farms and they each had sons who took over those farms. My father, Jacob farmed the original farm. Later he purchased one of his cousin’s farms. In 1972 after graduating from college I began farming with my parents and my wife Nettie. In 1990 we built a new dairy and began to make compost from the manure. In 1997 we merged with a family that had been our neighbors for 70 years to form Rosenholm Wolfe Dairy. We expanded to accommodate the need for increased income with another partner. Today we are milking 550 cows 24 hours per day with about 20 employees.


In 1997 we decided to get serious about making compost and built a 2 acre hard surfaced site to create high quality compost which we began to call Cowsmo. We took compost making to a new level with a compost turner and temperature monitoring. We also began to sell the compost a bit more aggressively. We soon developed a loyal following of satisfied customers who told their friends how well it worked on their soils. Around 2001 we began to have garden centers carry our compost and we have had steady growth since. In 2005 we added another acre of hard surface for composting and also upgraded our compost turner. We now had increased our capacity from 3000 yards per year to 6500 yards per year .

In 2006 our local CSA farmer, Heather Secrist, asked us to make a potting soil. She had been buying potting soil from Vermont and felt it inconsistent to ask people to buy local when she was buying soil from Vermont. A new kind of hand shake partnership soon developed as she helped us begin making potting soil and then became our technical advisor for our customers. Our sales have grown at a 20% per year rate as more and more people found out the advantages of a compost-based potting mix that was made right here in the Midwest. Today we have 4 types of potting soils for a wide spectrum of growers from  organic to commercial flower growers. Cowsmo is now sold from Minnesota to Mississippi and from South Dakota to Michigan. We also added bags and totes after selling only in the bulk form for 15 years.


Nettie Rosenow, my wife of 42 years, is in charge of production and manages the processes with good record keeping and good employees. Loren is in charge of getting the raw feedstock to our compost facility in a timely fashion. And I am in charge of sales and financial management. . Emmett hauls the raw material to our compost facility, Gregorio turns the compost, Helene and Craig mix potting soil , Ishmael fills bags and Gerry delivers with our truck.


Our compost process creates the finest compost in the Midwest