Missaukee County dairy farm family hosts Breakfast on the Farm

More than 1,960 people attended Breakfast on the Farm at the Benthem Brothers Dairy Farm in McBain on Sept. 24.

Benthem Brothers Dairy Farm, a family-owned and operated dairy farm located in McBain, Mich., welcomed more than 1,960 visitors to Breakfast on the Farm on Sept. 24. The family-friendly event gave the visitors a firsthand look at modern food production. 

Brothers Doug and Bruce Benthem own and operate Benthem Brothers Dairy Farm along with Doug’s son Jason and Bruce’s son Ryan. Together, the family cares for nearly 900 cows and grows about 1,600 acres of corn and alfalfa to feed to their cattle. The Benthem family enthusiastically opened their farm to show visitors how they make sure their cows are comfortable and how they produce milk that is used in nutritious dairy products.

Those attending the Missaukee County event enjoyed a home-cooked breakfast before setting off on a self-guided farm tour. Visitors could learn about the many aspects of dairy farming through numerous educational exhibits, such as cow housing, cow nutrition, animal wellbeing, milk quality and nutrient/manure management. Local veterinarians demonstrated the use of ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy in dairy cows. Another exhibit highlighted the use of cow activity monitors to determine when cows were in estrus and ready to be artificially inseminated. The kids participated in a variety of hands-on activities, including butter making.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of the visitors who completed a survey at the end of the tour (204) indicated that this was the first time in the past 20 years that they had visited a working dairy farm. Another 21% of the visitors had only visited a dairy farm 1 or 2 times in the past 20 years. This sample of comments illustrates how the visitors benefitted from the event.

“Wow! Loved every part of the experience. Thanks for all the work and the volunteers. More fun than a theme park. Glad my kids and grandchildren learned about this food source and safety.”

“Thank you for allowing us to experience your farm. A great eye-opening educational experience for us city folks.”

“What a wonderful chance for the young to see how farming is so important.”

“Thank you for giving the community a chance to see what goes into the operation of a farm.”

Breakfast on the Farm is a statewide Michigan State University Extension program. More than 190 local volunteers helped coordinate the event from planning, setting up exhibits, serving food, answering questions at the educational sessions and cleaning up at the end of the event. Over 60 local sponsors and 10 statewide sponsors helped to make this educational event possible.

For more information about the Missaukee County Breakfast on the Farm, visit http://www.breakfastonthefarm.com/breakfastonthefarm/missaukee_county_benthem_brothers_dairy

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