SPICER, Minn. – June is dairy month and it’s a time to celebrate the dairy industry, reach out to consumers and simply promote dairy. The Minnesota Milk Producers Association also takes time in June to bring dairy producers together to relax over a game of golf and take part in a few farm tours.
“Every year, Minnesota Milk has a Summer Escape event,” said Jenna Davis, education director with Minnesota Milk. “It is really just an opportunity for dairy farmers to come together and celebrate national dairy month.”
In past years, Minnesota Milk has taken producers on river cruises, to baseball games and other fun events. Last year, they changed it up by starting the Minnesota Milk Cup.
“Essentially, we started a golf tournament and it was a really successful event for being the first year we tried it,” Davis said. “It was something new, it was a lot of fun and people said, ‘Hey, we want to do this again.’”
This year’s golf cup will take place June 12 at the Little Crow Golf Resort in Spicer with farm tours the next day.
“It’s a good opportunity for not only dairy farmers to come out, but also our ally business friends,” she said. “So for people in the dairy community who might be bankers, who might be nutritionists, we had some veterinarians there last year, really for the whole dairy supply chain it’s an opportunity for them to get together and mingle.”
One of the best ways for producers to learn new things is from other producers who have already tried them. That is the main goal of the Summer Escape event – bring producers together to share their stories.
It is that reason Minnesota Milk includes farm tours as part of this event.
“We are going to three different farms this year and they are all very diverse,” she said. “We want to hit the point that size doesn’t define diary, but it’s the people that do.”
The first dairy farm on the tour is going to be a smaller, tie stall barn. The owner, Sheena Kirkoff, who lives outside of Brooten, customized her barn to fit her needs as a dairy producer.
The next stop will be the Jer-Lindy Farms. In addition to dairy farming, they also own Redhead Creamery.
“We’ll get to see kind of the artisanal cheese side of things and what makes that farm really unique,” Davis said.
The final farm on the tour is on the other end of the spectrum, a larger operation that features a robotic rotary milking parlor. The cows enter the rotary parlor stall and a robotic arm attaches the milker.
“It's a really new concept and it’s the first of its kind in Minnesota and I think maybe one of ten in the nation,” she said.
They will have a coach bus for the tour and can take a maximum of 55 people.
Last year, ten teams of golfers competed in the Minnesota Milk Cup. They are hoping for at least ten or more teams this year.
Hole sponsorship for the tournament actually goes to the Minnesota Milk scholarship program.
“Over the years, Minnesota milk has generously donated scholarships to children and employees of our membership for those kids who are pursuing their degrees at a four-year school or a two-year school,” she said. “That was a nice add-on that we created last year to support that scholarship fund.”
For more information or to resister for the Summer Escape, go to the Minnesota Milk website, mnmilk.org and look under events.
“We are really excited for it,” Davis said. “I think that overall it’s just an opportunity for the dairy community to come together and celebrate everything there is to be thankful for and also have that power of shared experiences with one another.”