Interview with Matt Patoka
By Joe Kertzman, managing editor, Badger Common’Tater
A century farm as of 2020, Patoka Farms, LLC, in Amherst, Wisconsin, has been in continuous operation at its original location for 103 years.
“We couldn’t go to State Fair to get our 100-year plaque after COVID hit,” says third-generation owner Gary Patoka. Gary, his brother, Bill, and Bill’s son, Matt—this issue’s interviewee—are the proud owners and operators of the century-old farm.
Matt’s great-grandpa and great-grandma, Joe and Agnes Patoka, settled the land as a small dairy farm. Joe was killed in a car accident in the 1940’s. Even though Joe and Agnes’s son, Leonard, was only 16 years old at time, he and Agnes took over the farm.
“It was mainly dairy, but like everyone else in the area, they had chickens, pigs, and a few cows,” Matt says.
“My dad, Leonard, would go to the cities peddling potatoes, and my mom, Jeanette, would have to be the one to stay home, milk the cows, and do the chores,” Gary relates. “One time a chicken hitchhiked on the truck on the way to market, and the story goes Dad sold it to a customer when he got there.”