Breakfast on the Farm program draws record crowd

Breakfast on the Farm kicked off its first 2013 event by drawing more than 3,000 attendees to the Reid Dairy Farm, LLC in Jeddo, Mich.

Five diverse farms from across Michigan are hosting Breakfast on the Farm events in 2013. The first event was held on June 15 at Reid Dairy Farm, LLC in Jeddo, Mich. This was the first time for a Breakfast on the Farm to be held in St. Clair County. The weather was perfect as 3,100 attendees from 106 towns representing 22 Michigan counties; five other states and Ontario, Canada were welcomed to the farm and took advantage of the opportunity to learn about modern agriculture and where their food comes from.

Breakfast on the Farm, a program of Michigan State University Extension, gives consumers and farm neighbors a firsthand look at modern food production and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply for Michigan communities and the world.

Following a delicious breakfast of pancakes, sausage, cereal, yogurt, milk and coffee, the participants began a self-guided tour with stations staffed by farmers and agricultural professionals who work with farmers. Jim and Pam Reid and their family were proud to host this educational program. Jim started farming with his father in 1962 on a farm settled by Jim’s grandparents in 1868. Jim and Pam moved about 4 miles from the family centennial farm to their present farm in 1978. Visitors saw everything from calves to large farm equipment to comfortable cow housing, plus more. A special feature was the birth of a calf during the tour. From animal wellbeing to nutrition to nutrient management, visitors could hear and view key messages and ask questions. Many enjoyed learning more about the solar panels installed on the roof of their cow housing facility. The electricity that is generated provides about 20 percent of the farm’s electrical needs, and they save about 30 percent on their monthly electrical bill. The family also utilizes technology in many aspects of the farm, and visitors had the opportunity to learn about their precision reproduction management program. The favorite of many participants was seeing firsthand how milk starts its journey from the cow to the grocery store. Each of the 220 cows on the Reid Farm produces an average of 10 gallons of milk per day. Their milk is shipped to Michigan Dairy, a Kroger bottling plant in Livonia, Mich.

“Now, when we drink Kroger milk, we know one of the producers,” one visitor said. Several also shared that Breakfast on the Farm was “a wonderful learning experience for both children and adults.”

It was common to see attendees taking photos of the educational messages at each of the stations. Kids had fun searching for answers to their Kids Quiz as well as participating in fun learning activities as they toured the farm.

Of the adults who were surveyed, more than 40 percent stated this was the first time they had visited a working dairy farm in at least the past 20 years. The surveys also showed that participants had increased their knowledge and confidence in Michigan dairy products and how farmers care for the environment, care for their animals and produce a safe, wholesome food supply.

“What a great experience, thank you for opening your farm up to the public; thank you for all you dairy farmers do to feed our country and maintain our natural resources; and what an enjoyable way to reaffirm my trust in farmers,” were just some of the comments that participants made during the survey.

At least 300 volunteers from throughout Michigan’s thumb area helped to organize and implement this educational and fun event. There were 98 local sponsors and 12 state sponsors who helped to make this program possible. To learn more visit www.breakfastonthefarm.com or to view a video of this program check out the Breakfast on the Farm Facebook page.

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