Farm to offer breakfast of dairy and more
If you’re looking for a breakfast featuring dairy products like milk, cheese and more as well as a way to learn where those products come from, the Steele County American Dairy Association (ADA) has you covered.
On Saturday, Jon and Kim Schmidt will be hosting Breakfast on the Farm at Schmitty Holsteins Farm located at 6124 SW 8th St., Owatonna. The dairy association is offering free bus transportation from the Steele County Fairgrounds beginning at 8 a.m.
Jon Schmidt, who also serves as president of the ADA, is excited to get back to hosting the breakfast event after being shut down for the past two years because of COVID-19.
The Schmidts hosted the breakfast event in 2011 when more than 1,200 people flocked to their dairy operation.
Besides a meal, the Schmidts will offer barn tours, horse and wagon rides, petting zoo, kiddy train, bouncy house and other fun activities for children. Princess Kay of the Milky Way Anna Euerle of Meeker County will also be appearing at the event.
“We want to get people out to a dairy farm so they can see where their dairy products come from,” said Schmidt, who is a fifth generation dairy farmer dating back to the late 1800s. He has found that many people don’t know where milk and other products originate from because they are three or four generations removed from the farm.
“We want to give them a better understanding of what we do out here.”
Despite his family’s longevity in the dairy industry, the Schmidts are one of only 14 dairy farmers left in Steele County. “It’s kind of sad that there are only 14 left,” he said, adding in neighboring Waseca County there are only seven dairy farms remaining.
The Schmidts milk 200 dairy cows in a free stall barn constructed in 2009. “We’re pretty small compared to others,” he said. He noted it’s not unusual for many operations to have several thousand dairy cows.
Schmidt said he has always liked cows and initially got into the genetics side of dairy. However, the genetics have changed drastically in recent years, leaving Schmidt to focus more on showing.
Last year, Schmidt took pride in helping seven area children by allowing them to lease 18 of his dairy cows to show at the Steele County Fair.
After several years of dismal milk prices, things have rebounded nicely over the past couple years. “Milk prices have been really good right now,” he said, noting it helps balance things out with higher fuel and other operating costs.
“We are trying to keep surviving and trying to improve our herd,” Schmidt said. “I get satisfaction out if keeping our cows healthy and getting high production.”
As folks head out to the farm on Saturday, Schmidt hopes they take notice of what he does on a regular basis.
“Come out and look to see how we take care of our animals.”