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Riverview's newest dairy, Waukon Dairy, is milking 10,500 cows per day and using local feeds

The dairy, which is located on 160 acres in Waukon Township, eight miles southeast of Gary, Minnesota, began milking June 20, 2022, 15 months after construction began on the facility.

Two large buildings with two silos and an open shed.
Riverview LLP owns Waukon Dairy, which is Waukon Township in Norman County, Minnesota.
Contributed / Waukon Dairy
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GARY, Minnesota — Waukon Dairy, a subsidiary of Riverview LLP, since June has been milking 10,500 cows daily in rural Norman County, Minnesota.

The dairy, which is located on 160 acres in Waukon Township, eight miles southeast of Gary, Minnesota, began milking June 20, 2022, 15 months after construction began on the facility. Riverview LLP construction manager Lyle Grimm declined to estimate the cost of the dairy construction.

Besides Minnesota, Riverview LLC has dairies in South Dakota, Nebraska and New Mexico and heifer ranches in New Mexico and Arizona where northern calves are transported.

Waukon Dairy has 45 full-time employees. About 60% of the employees were transferred to the Waukon Dairy from other Riverview LLP dairies.

Riverview LLP, which is based in Morris, Minnesota, chose the location near Gary after it was contacted by Skaurud Grain Farms, which owns land in Waukon Township, said Lyle Grimm, Riverview LLP construction manager. The owners of the farm expressed interest in selling feed to the dairy and buying manure from it to use as fertilizer.

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“We rely on local farmers for our feedstuffs," Grimm said. “We sell 100% of the manure as fertilizer.”

Waukon Dairy buys feed, including corn, corn silage, straw and alfalfa from farmers within five miles of the dairy and by-products such as distillers grain and soybean meal from area processors.

The corn is grown on 2,000 acres, the silage on 6,500 acres and the alfalfa on 2,500 acres. The dairy also buys 4,000 tons of straw that originates on the wheat acreage of local farmers.

Riverview LLP hires a crew to harvest the haylage and silage and also hires other companies to do some of the work at the dairy, such as maintenance. The straw and dry corn are delivered to the dairy by farmers.

The dairy is the northernmost dairy of Riverview LLP, a diversified beef, crops and dairy company, based in Morris, Minnesota. A benefit of the northern location is that the cooler summer weather will result in less stress on the cows, Grimm said.

“Cows prefer cooler weather,” he said.

The cows produce 7,000 gallons of milk daily, which is hauled in nine semi-tractor trailers to Bongards' Creameries in Perham, Minnesota.

Bongards still4.jpg
Waukon Dairy, Gary, Minnesota, daily hauls nine semi-tractor trailer loads, each containing 7,000 gallons of milk, to Bongards' Creameries in Perham, Minnesota.
Trevor Peterson/Agweek

The dairy’s features include a 128-stall rotary milking parlor. Greensource Automation LLC robots initially prepare and clean the cows before Waukon's workers attach the milking units to the cows’ udders.

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Meanwhile, Waukon Dairy is collecting stormwater from the dairy barn’s roof and storing it in a holding pond where it is cleaned before it is given to the cows. The recycled water accounts for about 30% of the amount the cows drink.

Riverview LLP plans to build a methane digester, in partnership with REV LNG, which will convert the fertilizer to natural gas, at Waukon Dairy in 2023.

The dairy has received a lot of community support; people who want to tour the dairy should contact Riverview LLP for tours of the facility, which include education about the dairy industry, Grimm said.

“A big part of our company is getting people on the farm,” he said.

Visit the Riverview LLP website page for more information about scheduling a tour: https://www.riverviewllp.com/contact.html.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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