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Moms tour dairy farms

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 07/30/2013 10:47 AM

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LeMARS — Moms saw first hand how milk is produced during a tour of Iowa and South Dakota dairy farms.

It was Malea Johnson's first trip to a dairy farm. She needed to see for herself how safe milk was. She was impressed with the cleanliness and the steps producers take to make sure milk is safe.

Johnson was one of 25 women who took part in the Know Your Milk Tour.

The tour made a stop at Plymouth Dairy Farm outside of LeMars. Participants also ate dinner at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor. The afternoon stop included Moonlight Dairy, owned by Josh and Lindsay Winquist, near Alcester, S.D. The dairy milks 250 to 280 registered Holsteins.

Josh Winquist, 33 years old, answered questions about building a dairy farm, how breeding and calving occurs, his Holstein cows, feeding and manure management plans.

"Before this trip I did worry about antibiotics in the milk; but I see now that dairy farmers go the extra mile to see that milk is perfectly safe," said tour participant Darla Von Haden.

Dane Zarbano, Sergeant Bluff, was curious about modern dairy facilities because she had grown up on a farm.

"I am amazed at how the dairy industry has progressed," she said. "The cows are still happy, their care is just different than it was when I was young."

LeAnne Philips, WIDA Executive Director, was really happy with the interest in the tour and how engaged people were at all the tour stops.

"Grocery shoppers have a lot of questions about the food they purchase for their families," said LeAnne Philips, executive director of the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance.

The Tour was sponsored by South Dakota Farm Families, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance, Midwest Dairy Association, Common Ground and the Iowa Food & Family Project.