Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's no place like home

If there's one thing that can be said about the dairy industry, it's that our dairy farms come in more flavors than the products made from our milk. Every farm is a reflection of the people who live and work there and there are no two dairies that do things exactly the same.

Monika and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week touring farms in southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota while covering the Minnesota Milk Producers Association Summer Bus Tour. We saw quite a variety of the newest technologies being adopted by dairy farmers – from robotic milkers to cross-ventilated free stall barns.

Visiting other dairy farms is a great way to gather ideas for making changes and improvements on our own farms. It's also a great way to connect with other dairy farmers. Listening to a farmer talk about his or her farm is like listening to an artist describe his masterpiece. Their pride cannot be mistaken.

What I realized when I returned home, though, is that even though our farm may not be state-of-the-art, and we probably won't be welcoming bus loads of curious dairy farmers any time soon, what is important is that it's our farm. An extension of who we are and what we value. Our own magnum opus. There really is no place like home.

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