Day on the farm at Royalwood Dairy
by: Amanda Buus, Ag United Summer Intern 2014
Ever wondered where your food comes from and how it’s produced? On Saturday, June 14th the Ode family invited guests from all around for the 7th annual day on the farm at Royalwood Dairy in Brandon, SD. Over 700 people came out for the event, and were given the chance to hear first hand from dairy farmers how livestock is cared for and how dairy products are produced.
Guests poured out of the bus and headed to the tent where they were treated to a free pancake breakfast by Chris Cakes and a fun-filled day the whole family could enjoy! After getting their stomachs full and licking off their syrup-covered fingers, kids took off running towards the many activities held on the farm! The youth especially enjoyed singing and dancing with children’s entertainer Phil Baker, and coloring “Moo Tubes” with ‘Hood Magazine as a part of their Make N’ Take monthly activity. Other activities included petting a baby calf, driving a tractor and exploring agriculture in the corn trailer provided by South Dakota Corn, and trying their hand at milking Midwest Dairy’s “Bessy” the cow!
The highlight of the day, was taking a tour of the Ode family’s 270 cow dairy barn at Royalwood Dairy, where family members could discover how milk gets from the farm to the store. The first stop on the barn tour was in the Bulk Tank room. Before the milk truck arrives at the farm each day, raw milk is stored in stainless steel bulk tanks to keep it cool and to prevent it from spoiling. After the milk truck picks up the product, the bulk tank is emptied and cleaned thoroughly before any fresh milk enters the tank. In the milking parlor, a dairy representative and the South Dakota Dairy Princess, Katelyn Grehl, explained the process of milking cows on the farm. As the kids received their “I met a Dairy Farmer” sticker, the speakers ended by answering questions anyone had and directing everyone up the stairs to see the dairy cows. From the milking parlor, visitors took a look around Royalwood Dairy’s naturally ventilated barn equipped with fans and misters, which keep the barn air fresh and cool. Here, cows can remain comfortable and clean throughout the day on sand beds where they spend most of their time resting. Families also saw what the cows were fed on a daily basis and were able to ask questions of the Ode family and other dairy producers.
At the end of the day, families headed home not only with their free malt from the malt wagon, but also with a better understanding of the dairy industry and how milk gets from the cow to the cup. South Dakota farm families work hard every day to ensure that a safe and healthy product ends up on our family’s supper table, and making a visit to Royalwood Dairy was a great way to see just how farmers make it all happen!