Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visit to a Modern Dairy Farm

On Saturday, June 19, 2010, my wife Nancy and I arrive about 9:30 AM to set up our tent from which we will sell my books about farm kids in 1950 and our new product, Cuddly Critters.

 Farm workers, of course, have already put in hours of work doing regular chores and preparing the farm yard for the special Day at the Farm, where George and Charlene Duban open up to the public their 400-cow dairy operation located south of Lonsdale, MN.

Some early visitors ask questions of the farm employees, who wear red t-shirts and are available to answer questions throughout the day. I ask two employees if  they like working at the dairy farm. They each respond with an entusiastic, "Yes!" and then explain that they've worked here 12 years.

From talking to visiters, I soon learn that Rice County's "A Day on the Farm" is held each year at a different farm site, though this is the third time the Dubans have hosted the event. 

I cross the narrow drive in front of our tent to get a closer look  at some cattle feeding in roomy outside pens.
In vain I try to get them to say "cheese," but although they seem content, they refuse to smile for the camera.

As early visitors continue to arrive, Ed Brazina, a friend from Farmington, provides some music. Adults and kids love it and the kids decide to dance.

Visitors returning from the barns tell me they are impressed with the cleanliness and organiztion so Nanc and I decide to stroll around the place quickly before we get too many customers.


The barn seems to stretch west to where the sun might set, but strolling the distance rewards us with photo opportunities

Kids and adults delight in getting close to the  Holsteins, and the large animals don't seem to mind as they go about the business of eating.

The milking parlor handles many cows at once. Can you count the number of stations?

The number of visitors increases, and by 11 AM  people line up to eat lunch provided by Rice County American Dairy Association while others visit the calves or walk through the dairy barns. I volunteer to man the tent and send Nanc around to take pictures of people and places. 

Kids love to pet the calves.

Some of the calves are  more curious than others.

Activity at our tent increases as people from farms, cities and small towns stop by to chat, hug the Cuddly Critters, page through the books and make some purchases. We talk to several elementary school teachers who express interest in having me perform my free show at their schools. Another lady wants me to perform for her 4-H group.

People of all ages come from towns and farms, alike. The kids like to rave about the cows and calves, their parents are taken by the size and effficiency of the large dairy operation, and the old-timers swap stories with me about how we did the milking way back in the day.

Although the event was to end at 1:00 PM, we stay until nearly 3 PM before the crowd diminisses. Then  we say goodbye  to owners George and Charlene and thank them for providing the setting for a great "Day at the Farm."

As we drive home, Nanc and I decide that we want to attend more of these events where we can chat with friendly people from all over and witness first-hand the operation of a  modern American farm. If readers out there are interested, check my blog for future postings or my event calendar at http://www.gordonfredrickson.com/  Or visit "Midwest Dairy" on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Your post and photos brought back so many memories of growing up on a farm. My favorite part of doing chores was feeding pellets to the baby calves.

    This farm event sounds wonderful. I had wanted to attend, but, unfortunately, had a prior commitment on Saturday. Sounds like you had a fantastic day.