Undeniably Dairy Grants are available to farmers for local promotion efforts to showcase that dairy is good for people, the planet, and our local communities. Midwest Dairy encourages farmers to use these grants in ways that interact and connect with Generation Z (Gen Z) by bringing dairy to unexpected places, hosting on-farm events, and other creative ways. Many farmers put these dollars to good use this summer, including the events below.
In June, Goldview Farms, owned and operated by Faye, Pat, and Joanna Bakeberg, hosted the Wright Carver Breakfast on the Farm event. This event was extra special this year as the original Bakeberg homestead was celebrating its 150th anniversary. Currently, Goldview Farms milks 120 cows and raises their own livestock, including finishing steers for market.
Goldview Farms offered a wide variety of opportunities during the on-farm event. With over 2,500 people in attendance, this event allowed all to enjoy a freshly made breakfast and learn about all aspects of a dairy farm through various stops around the farm. These stops included a drone that flew over the farm, education about caring for calves, a veterinarian talked about the health care of dairy cows, a feeding station to learn about nutrition on the farm, and lastly, a display shared milk’s journey as it goes from the cow to the table. Local businesses also attended and talked about other aspects of agriculture, such as Peterson Farms Honey, Jack Cooper Custom Meats, Matter Farm to Table: Maple Syrup, and Grater Good: Cheese boards.
Joanna expressed how easy of a process it is to apply for the Undeniably Dairy grant funds and is thankful for how big of an impact they can have on an event. “Through hosting our event and adding our local ag spotlight of ‘Meet The Makers,’ I was able to network with another area dairy farmer that is just dabbling in farm tours with their Maple syrup and dairy cows and encouraged them to look into the Midwest programs and grant opportunities. They were very appreciative of the information,” she said.
Swift County ADA
Tom Walsh with the Swift County ADA also applied for an Undeniably Dairy grant this year to support agricultural awareness. This grant provided exhibit funding for a new Agricultural Children’s Museum in Benson, Minnesota. The exhibit is called the Mini Sota Museum and focuses on children and families having fun while learning more about agriculture, with one area focused on dairy. This project also supports another effort in the community that has a dairy section to help young people learn more about dairy farming, milk processing, and the nutritional benefits of dairy products.
Tom is inspired to help ensure this is a top-notch dairy educational exhibit that will help make kids and families excited about dairy farming and dairy products. The Undeniably Dairy grant has ensured he can help make this exhibit accurate and great. Tom’s goal is to be a resource to help others learn more about dairy farms and milk and milk products. Follow this link to learn more about this new exhibit that teaches about all aspects of agriculture to future generations!
“What a gift the dairy industry can be to our local efforts, especially those promoting agriculture.”
~ Tom Walsh, Swift County ADA
Another grant recipient includes Sara Kuechle, who used an Undeniably Dairy grant in 2022 to educate and promote chocolate milk consumption after exercising and then, in 2023, used a grant to purchase a bulk milk tank, allowing local athletes to have access to fresh milk at the Eden Valley District – Watkins Athletic Program.
The bulk milk machine is found in the school’s weight room and provides dairy products for more than 100 student-athletes per week, ranging from 7th to 12th grade. This school proved to be the perfect opportunity for this program because they have a very strong athletic department, as many of its teams have qualified for state awards, including boys’ football, boys’ basketball, and girls track and field.
“The Undeniably Dairy grant program is easy and so rewarding to see your checkoff dollars making such an impact,” said Sara. A comment from the school’s athletic director includes, “The kids love the fresh milk, and it helps get more students into the weight room!”
These farmers can attest that this program is beneficial because it allows opportunities for checkoff dollars to make a difference in farmers’ local communities.
This year, Tara Bohnert added an engagement element to the Rock Island County Fair, located in East Moline, Illinois, with the support of an Undeniably Dairy Grant. The fair has provided education and entertainment for over 150 years. To encourage dairy engagement, Bohnert hosted a birthing barn called ‘Calf Corner’ during the fair, where the public could witness live calving. Bohnert said that people would wait hours to experience a live birth, and fairgoers would flock to her Jersey cows to see the new calves.
Within ‘Calf Corner,’ Bohnert hosted dairy trivia and provided engagement opportunities surrounding dairy. The trivia questions focused on the dairy cow life cycle, nutrition, and the process of producing milk. Guests could take pictures with the selfie cow, learn about different aspects of dairy through new signage, and milk a pretend cow. Additionally, Bohnert is passionate about improving dairy technology, and she used the fair to showcase new technology to the public, furthering their understanding of dairy cow care. Guests of the Rock Island County Fair got to experience the unique opportunity of the birthing barn and gain a deeper understanding of the dairy industry.