I was recently in Polk County, located in northwest, Wisconsin, for the dairy breakfast hosted at Crystal Ball Farms. Troy and Barb DeRosier, along with their sons Jordan and Jared, own and operate the farm and the on-site creamery near the town of Osceola, where they bottle milk from their 150 Holsteins.I volunteered to join the preparations for the event on an early Saturday morning, which consisted of electrical breakers flipping off, spilled pancake mix, and the threat of rain clouds. The odds seemed to be stacked against us!
Later in the day, the breakfast was finally ready to be served, the educational area and face painting station was set up, and the farm tours commenced. Although the rain clouds did bring a bit of much needed rain, the majority of the time was spent in warm sunshine. I painted cow tracks, cow faces, cow print, and even a T-rex on the faces of kids who were so excited to be there. They ate breakfast, and then took pictures with their families by putting their faces through silly painted boards. Overall, everyone had a great time.
These families now have a connection and a story to tell about the dairy industry. Previously, they may not have ever seen a cow or calf up close, or heard the word parlor. However, because they had this fun opportunity with their family, they know a little bit more about the industry that provides them with the nutritious and delicious products they eat at home.
Every day, 98% of our world gets farther and farther away from the 2% of the population that provides food for everyone. Something as simple as flipping pancakes and providing coloring sheets for the kids can help build the bridge from consumers to producers.
Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper is serving as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.