In honor of June Dairy Month, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson Monday, June 2, released the annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower SCC count is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life. This year, 115 dairy farms are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average under 100,000 SCC.
For more than a decade Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and University of Minnesota dairy experts have been working with the state’s dairy farmers to lower somatic cell counts. When the initiative began in 2003, the 100 herds honored that year included those with SCC averages as high as 144,000, compared to the goal of obtaining a SCC under 100,000.
The Seventh Annual Stearns County Breakfast on the Farm will be held at Funk’s Midway Dairy, owned by the Funk family, from 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7. The Kimball Lions will be cooking up a hearty breakfast of pancakes, French toast, eggs, sausage, juice, coffee and milk for $5/person. Children 5 and under eat free! The event will include children’s activities, a farm animal petting tent, tours of the farm, a visit from Princess Kay of the Milky Way, an obstacle course with the Vikings Cheerleaders and live radio broadcasts with KCLD and WILD Country. Come join the many agricultural community sponsors to celebrate June Dairy Month. Bring the whole family to this agricultural awareness event and see a dairy farm in action. The event will occur rain or shine.
The EV-W FFA Alumni is sponsoring a drawing of five $50-gift certificates at the following locations in honor of National Ag. Week March 23-30. Drawings will be done Sunday, March 30.
Slips for the drawings will be provided at Stein’s Thriftway in Watkins, and Valley Meats in Eden Valley.
A couple of years ago a farmer who has been around Benton County a while brought a rock to my office to see what I might be able to find out about it. My goal is to find answers a lot sooner than a couple of years, but I have to admit, I thought a little longer on this one. I didn’t get a name or phone number, so if it’s your rock, you’re welcome to stop by and visit again sometime.
The farmer was curious because it seemed unusually heavy for its size. If I remember correctly, the whole rock was roughly shaped like a small pillow, about a foot square and 2-3 inches thick, fairly smooth on the surface, rounded on the corners and edges, and mostly dark gray in color. I think he said he found it in the field while picking rocks one day. Rocks are a pretty common find on the glacial till soils in Benton County. He wondered whether it was unusual, like a remnant of a meteor or something else interesting. I wondered if it was bulldozed in from northern Minnesota by the glaciers.
Deadline is April 1
Minnesota families who have owned their farms for 100 years or more may apply for the 2014 Century Farms Program. Produced by the Minnesota State Fair in conjunction with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, the Century Farms Program was created to promote agriculture and honor historic family farms in the state. More than 9,700 Minnesota farms have been honored since the program began in 1976.
Family farms are recognized as Century Farms when they meet three requirements. The farm must be: 1) at least 100 years old according to authentic land records; 2) in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years (continuous residence on the farm is not required); and 3) at least 50 acres.
A commemorative certificate signed by State Fair Board of Managers President Al Paulson, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap and Governor Mark Dayton will be awarded to qualifying families, along with an outdoor sign signifying Century Farm status.