Touring a dairy farm as a classroom, family, or tour group can be a fun and educational way to see dairy cows up close and identify with the farmers who produce the wholesome dairy products your family enjoys. Take it from us Minnesota Dairy Farmers and enjoy a tour of our family farm!
“We learned so much!”
“I never knew what a cow ate for breakfast before today!”
“We got to see a cow being milked!”
“This was such a delightful time getting to know the farmers that make our milk!”
These are just some of the things we’ve been hearing as we walk our tours around our family’s dairy farm in Southeastern Minnesota! By touring a farm you will get to know your farmer and their family and fully immerse yourself into local agriculture: understand what a cow is and how she produces milk, notice what a cow eats, and learn new information about farming.
Tours like these provide a more crucial understanding of the importance of farming and farmers. It’s important to take a step back and really think about where your food comes from. The answer? Farmers. Dairy Cows and farmers don’t take days off and are the backbone of rural communities. They provide jobs, help the environment, and so much more. Now more than ever our 5th generation farm has been dealing with the governmental and economic struggles that lead many farms to close. If you have the time please read our newest blog “The Tragedy of Our Time: Is This the End of Our Family’s Farm?” and see ways you can help + learn about the current state of many family farms.
In this tour you will see our dairy barn (one for adult cows and one for calves), milking parlor, chicken coop, and cut flower farm. With this tour we want to educate and answer all of your questions about our family dairy farm!
The average dairy cow drinks between 25 to 30 gallons of water. They eat about 100 pounds of feed, hay and silage every day. But nothing goes to waste on a dairy farm. Farmers recycle cows’ manure as fertilizer for crops and reuse water multiple times to cool the milk, wash the barn and irrigate crops.
When a heifer (girl calf) grows up and is about two years old, she has a calf and produces milk for 10 months. Then she is dry (does not produce milk) for two months and rests prior to having another calf.
Keeping calves safe and healthy is top priority for dairy farmers as they are the future of their herd. Calves are kept in individual pens until they are strong enough to be moved to group pens with other calves. Dairy farmers also do this to provide individualized care to each calf. This includes bottle feeding them several times a day, monitoring for weight gain and checking for any signs of illness.
Most dairies milk cows two or three times per day, which generally takes less than 10 minutes. After they take a trip to the milking parlor, Cows get to spend the rest of their day napping on water or sand beds, eating a well-balanced diet, and chewing their cud.
Once female cattle give birth they will produce milk for the next about 10 months until they are ready to be bred again. The bulls are needed for breeding purposes and then it’s the ladies who take it from there! When the calves on our farm are a week old we send them to our heifer grower. There they are raised to be strong and healthy. They will then come back to our farm to breed, give birth, and produce milk.
No, it’s actually a relief for cows to empty their udders. Milking machines provide a light suction that pulsates to gently allow the milk to release. Cows often line up on their own to have their udders cleaned and milked! Learn about the different types of milking parlors.
Farmers are the primary protectors of the land. A lot of questions come up with dairy farms and emissions, dairy farms and greenhouse gasses, and are dairy farms sustainable? Our farm sequesters 8 tons of carbon out of the atmosphere with every acre of corn that we grow, assist in caring for our land and make sure that when folks say they want to ‘move to the country’, that there’s actually open spaces that can still be considered ‘country’. We do that! We plant cover crops, protecting the soil so the earth stays put from wind and water erosion, while building up more organic matter.
Local dairy farms, like ours, often prioritize environmentally sustainable practices, including responsible stewardship of the land, water conservation, and reduced use of chemicals. Supporting local dairy farms is essential for the economic vitality and environmental sustainability of rural communities. By choosing locally produced dairy products, consumers can contribute to the preservation of jobs, the maintenance of agricultural diversity, and the sustenance of supporting businesses. Furthermore, supporting local dairy farms ensures the continuation of sustainable farming practices, responsible land use, and the preservation of rural landscapes.
Do you have more questions about our Family Dairy Farm? Comment below and read more about us, our story, and our lifestyle right here at heartysol blogs!
Affiliate Disclosure & Content Disclaimer
This post may contain affiliate links from a paid sponsor, Amazon or other program. When you use these links to make a purchase I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to continue creating the content that you love. The content in this article is created for information only and based on my research and/or opinion.
DAILY INSPIRATION ON THE GRAM @hearty.sol
it's hip to be square!