Last year, Progressive Dairyman sent out a call to our readers to learn more about how you celebrate June Dairy Month in your communities. Since then we received notice of 80 different events held throughout the country, not all of them necessarily in June. Unfortunately we are unable to recognize each of them individually, but we have categorized them below to give you an idea of the many ways the dairy industry is being promoted.
Breakfast on the Farm
Nearly half of the events we heard about could be classified as “Breakfast on the Farm.” While only 24 of them held an actual breakfast meal, the remainder followed the same format – find a dairy farm host, serve food and invite the public.
This editor hails from the land of breakfasts on the farm. In America’s Dairyland, 35 breakfasts will be held from late May through the end of June.
In fact, in any given June weekend I could travel to a breakfast within an hour from my home.
While Wisconsin could be classified as the epicenter of breakfasts, the phenomenon is certainly spreading.
We heard about breakfasts and open houses held in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota.
The one we received the most notice on is the breakfast held in Stearns County, Minnesota. Held the first weekend in June, the event provides a breakfast for approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people on a local dairy farm.
Guided tours of the farm are provided, with stations hosted by local experts (i.e. the farm’s vet, A.I. technician, hoof trimmer, nutritionists and even officials from Stearns County Soil & Water Conservation).
There is a petting zoo with various farm animals including baby calves from every breed, a farm safety exhibit, an equipment display and an agronomy tour.
The next-largest category of events we classified as “Dairy Day.” Different than a Breakfast on the Farm, these are typically held off the farm.
The range of these events is a little broader, from Nebraska, Kansas and Arkansas all the way over to New Hampshire. Some of the more notable Dairy Days include:
Cows on the Concourse – This event, held the first Saturday in June on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin, brings cows to the city.
Held for more than 25 years, it draws a crowd of 20,000 people who are on the square for the event, as well as the popular Dane County Farmers Market .
Hosted by the Dane County Dairy Promotion Committee, kids and adults can meet and greet cows and baby calves from local dairy farms, enjoy the live music, tasty food and fun games.
Dairy & Agriculture Day – This day in Linton, North Dakota, begins with a parade, followed by lunch and the coronation of the District Four Dairy Princess. There is also a Little Miss Dairy Princess and Little Mister Dairyman contest.
Dairy Day – Held in Overland Park, Kansas , this event allows visitors to milk Sophia the cow, see the fun dairy displays and stock up on useful nutritional handouts.
Prairieland Dairy Day – For the past eight years, Prairieland Dairy in Firth, Nebraska , has opened its doors in June and offered free milk, ice cream and lunch.
In addition, there are tours of the cow barn and milking parlor, a kids pavilion, milk truck rides, petting zoo, face painting, barrel rides, corn box and more.
Larimar County Fair demonstration – At the largest county fair in Colorado, a demonstration promoting milk and milk products can be found.
Dairy royalty and other dairy project members hand out a variety of handouts and goodies. A local dairy, Diamond D, donates chocolate and white milk. A few calves are on hand for the public to pet.
Mom’s Day Out on the Farm – Organized by South Dakota’s Ag United, this day of farm tours and information gathering is geared toward women who have disconnected from the farm.
Along the way “farm moms” join them to answer questions about farming, food and the work that goes into producing food.
Click here to read more about Mom's Day Out on the Farm in the article, "South Dakota event connects consumers to the farm."
We learned about four dairy-related festivals, including DairyFest in Clovis, New Mexico; Harvard Milk Days in Harvard, Illinois; Hopkins County Dairy Festival in Texas; and National MooFest in Athens, Tennessee.
DairyFest is hosted by the United Dairy Women and offers free dairy products, games, an interactive tour of the dairy industry and even a concert.
Harvard Milk Days has a milk drinking contest, cow chip lotto, milk run/walk and parade, among other events.
Hopkins County Dairy Festival features a parade, street dance, queen contest and hot air balloon rally. In 2000, the Chamber of Commerce added the Texas State Champion Homemade Ice Cream Freeze-off to this event.
National MooFest also has a homemade ice cream contest. In addition, this community fundraising event that attracts 20,000 people has something for everyone.
There are puppet shows, face painting and farm animals for the children. Adults can enjoy ice cream eating and mooing contests, as well as an evening concert.
Click here to learn more about MooFest in the article, "National MooFest brings farmers and consumers together."
A number of companies also host June Dairy Month events. We heard about celebrations by Agropur Inc. in Hull, Iowa; Blue Bell Creameries in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank, South Dakota; Classic Dairy Inc. in Jansen, Nebraska; and Picket Fence Creamery in Woodward, Iowa.
Each of these features free or low-cost dairy foods. Some offer tours and other activities. And one – Valley Queen Cheese’s Cheeseburger Day – is used to raise money for the local FFA chapter and Junior Holstein groups.
Sometimes it’s easier to piggyback dairy promotion with existing events. Some places you’ll see a dairy focus this month will be at the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Lexington Legends minor league baseball in Kentucky, Iowa Cubs minor league baseball in Iowa, and the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers major league baseball games.
Contrary to events mentioned thus far, the invited audience for these collaborative events tends to be dairy producers. Special prizes and activities are offered for this crowd, but there is usually plenty of dairy promotion mentioned to the entire audience of spectators as well.
Lastly, there are those unique events that don’t have a real fit elsewhere. These include scavenger hunts, day camps, races or marathons, boat races and parades. Some particular events to mention are:
Milk Carton Boat Race – Hosted by the Dairy Farmers of Oregon, this event attracts 5,000 people in Portland, Oregon. Children and adults race and show off handmade boats that float entirely by means of recycled milk cartons and jugs.
Strolling of the Heifers – More than 60,000 people flock to Brattleboro, Vermont (population 13,000) to see this parade of 100 heifers down Main Street. Spectators can then visit the 11-acre Live Green Expo for food, entertainment and exhibits.
Click here to learn more about Strolling of the Heifers in the article, "Strolling in appreciation: Vermont event honors farmers."
Udder Run – A five-mile run that covers a course through Wickstrom Brothers Dairy, Yosemite Jersey Dairy and past Clauss Dairy Farm in Hilmar, California. There is also a two-mile fun run and walk. The event benefits the Hilmar High School and Middle School track teams.
Progressive Dairyman recognizes this is only a portion of the great events happening this month and year-round to promote the dairy industry.
Please feel free to continue to let us know what events you are involved in click here to send an email to an editor. PD
PHOTO 1:Women who have disconnected from the farm were able to visit a dairy owned by Randy, Jeanette and Laura Nielson of Crooks, South Dakota, as part of the Mom’s Day Out farm tours. Photo courtesy of Ag United.
PHOTO 2: The Landwehr Family hosted the 2012 Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm at their Minnesota dairy. Pictured are back row: Marlene and Dennis; front row from left: Heather, Mike and Rhonda. Photo courtesy of Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm.
PHOTO 3: Moo Expert Laurie Winkleman helps one little boy meet a calf at Cows on the Concourse, held on the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Cows on the Concourse.
PHOTO 4: Around 100 heifers take to Main Street of Brattleboro, Vermont, for the annual Strolling of the Heifers. Photo by Jesse Baker and courtesy of Strolling of the Heifers.
PHOTO 5: Children who attend MooFest have an opportunity to get their faces painted. Photo courtesy of National MooFest.