During June Dairy Month Hoosiers can learn all about how milk is produced, and in many cases, if you remember visiting a dairy decades ago, you’ll find vast changes at the dairies you can tour this year on the Northern Indiana Dairy Trail. The project chairman, Jerry Goshert, says pick a single tour date or go all three days.
“We’re going to have open houses at 12 dairy farms,” he explained. “Eleven of those are going to take place in June during National Dairy Month. The dates are June 18th and 25th, and then there’s one final open house that’s going to take place in October in Elkhart County. The purpose is to let the public know about modern milk production and to celebrate the state bicentennial, so we’re really excited about the potential to bring consumers to farms to educate them, and we think the bicentennial gives folks a lot of reason to be excited about this.”
The final open house at Mybrook Farm in Middlebury October 4th will feature special activities for Indiana’s 200th anniversary, and two dairy industry representatives will be among the torch bearers in the statewide bicentennial relay.
Goshert encourages consumers to take in at least one of the dairy operations. You’ll likely be amazed at what you see.
“Some are putting in robotic systems to become more efficient. There’s one farm that converts the cow manure into electricity. They generate their own power. So there are a lot of efficiencies, a lot of new technology on display.”
In addition to a peek at modern milk production there will be farm tours led by dairy farmers themselves, historical displays, children’s activities and dairy product tastings.
The six-county region of Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble and St. Joseph has more dairy farms than any other region of the state, and volunteer organizers want to recognize the important contributions of dairy farming to the local economy and to create opportunities for dairy farmers to interact directly with consumers regarding key messages.
At each stop along the dairy trail, visitors will enjoy free milk and yogurt.
All of the open houses run from noon to 5 p.m., except for Mybrook Farm, which starts at 8 a.m. on Oct. 4. The open house schedule:
Saturday, June 18
- Knollbrook Farms – John and Cynthia Adam, Nate and Alyssa, Nick, Luke and Faith, 15463 C.R. 46, Goshen, IN; Farm Family of the Year (2012, Elkhart County Agricultural Society); 105 cows
- Beer Dairy Inc. – Fred and Pat Beer, Jeff Beer, Regg Beer, Heidi Beer, 9194 Orn Road, Milford, IN; Producer of the Year (Fred, 2008); 930 cows
- Gingerich Dairy LLC – Merrill and Phil Gingerich, Jeremy Byler, 12836 N. 400 W., Milford, IN; Milk Quality Award; 480 cows
- Perkins Twin Creek Farm Inc. – Kirk, Rod and Todd Perkins, 11045 E. 425 S., Wolcottville, IN; Indiana Farm Family of the Year (2005); 460 cows
- Nor-Bert Farms – Roger and Deb Dankert, Jeremy Dankert, Monty and Jennifer Freeman and families, 7081 1B Road, Bremen, IN; Progressive Breeder Award, 140 cows
- Metzger Dairy Inc. – Jack D., Mary, John, Jack J., Susan, Ashton Bauman and Carmen Kreager, 4837 W. 100 S., Kimmell, IN; River Friendly Farm Award; 3,775 cows
Saturday, June 25
- Oneeda Farm LLC – Roger and Camille Hibschman (Madison and Lauren), 71957 C.R. 35, Syracuse, IN; Fifth generation farm, since 1929; Milk Quality Award; Over 180 cows
- Stutzman Dairy LLC – Harry Stutzman Jr., Darin Stutzman, Elmer Miller Jr., 1360 N. 850 W., Shipshewana, IN; DMS Milk Quality Award; 160 cows
- Homestead Dairy – Floyd and Deb Houin, Tana Houin, Brian Houin, Matt Houin, Joel Gawronski and Ryan Rogers, 11505 13th Road, Plymouth, IN; 2013 Young Dairy Producer of the Year (Brian); 3,400 cows
- Phares Farm – Steve and Clint Phares, 6043 N. 100 W., Albion, IN; Milk Quality Award; 110 cows
- Ted and Karyn Hesters, 71910 S.R. 23, Walkerton, IN; Milk Quality Awards
Tuesday, October 4
- MyBrook Farm – Mike and Judy Oesch, Ryan and Laura Yoder; 57922 C.R. 43, Middlebury, IN; Fifth generation centennial farm; Milk Quality Award; Master Breeder Award (2007); 190 cows
The Northern Indiana Dairy Trail has been endorsed as an official legacy project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.
Partners include the American Dairy Association Indiana, Indiana Dairy Producers, Purdue University Cooperative Extension and others.
Major financial support for this project comes from dozens of industry sponsors, including Farm Credit Mid-America, the Elkhart County 4-H Dairy Advisory Board, Elkhart County Farm Bureau Inc., Interra Credit Union, DeLaval Inc., Hoover Feed Service, Guggisberg Cheese, Foremost Farms USA and others. The project is also supported by grants from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Soybean Alliance.
To find out more about the Northern Indiana Dairy Trail and the 12 host farms, visit www.dairytrail.com.