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1108 PD PROGRESSIVE EVENTS: Minnesota Milk Producers' Tour

Published on 24 July 2008

Almost 100 dairy producers and industry representatives participated in the Minnesota Milk Producers’ second annual Summer Bus Tour, held in mid-June. The two-day tour covered five dairies in western Wisconsin and was sponsored in part by the University of Minnesota Extension.

The stops on the first day were Duane and Nancy Kodesh’s 250-cow freestall operation; Greg Barfknecht’s new barn construction, which will implement a robotic milker; and Kevin Herrman’s farm, where participants were able to see four robotic milkers in action. That evening, tour-goers gathered for dinner and enjoyed a panel discussion with the Kodeshs and Kevin Herrman. The Wisconsin producers answered questions and shared their opinions on topics such as labor, family time away from the farm and animal activist organizations.

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The following day, participants toured Valley Vu Farms, the operation of Dan and Pam Schullo, who plan to continue to expand their herd from 600 head to 1,000+ cows. After that, the participants toured NorSwiss Dairy Inc., a 1,300-cow operation owned by Alfred Lee, his family and Brodie Hamilton, who became a partner in 2000. This annual tour is a wonderful networking opportunity and “hands-on learning experience” for producers, says Bob Lefebvre, executive director of Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

“It’s important for dairy producers to be able to see new or innovative ideas from other progressive producers,” he says. “This opportunity gives those on tour more confidence to implement something different on their farm.” PD

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