VIDEO: S.D. Dairy Fest kicks off Dairy Month
BROOKINGS, S.D. -- Dairy Fest drew hundreds of people to a dairy farm and processing plant tour, kicking off the region's June Dairy Month in style -- tripling the numbers from the previous year.
BROOKINGS, S.D. - Dairy Fest drew hundreds of people to a dairy farm and processing plant tour, kicking off the region’s June Dairy Month in style - tripling the numbers from the previous year.
The event started three years ago, with a goal to increase awareness in the Midwest, with the largest efforts in the eastern part of South Dakota and western Minnesota.
“It’s something of a celebration, but also to visit with consumers and remind them what the impact of dairy has on the region,” says Dale Rennich, regional sales manager for Diamond V feeds, and chairman of this year’s event.
Dairy Fest is run by a committee of a dozen people, including university and extension officers and staff.
This year’s Dairy Fest started with a Got Milk gala, involving about 180 people, including state legislators and some local business leaders to mingling with producers and enjoying a five-course meal, all “dairy-enhanced” and paired with wine. This year’s event took place in conjunction with the South Dakota Governor’s Ag Summit, also held at the Swiftel Center in Brookings.
On June 3, the event hosted the Dairy Fest Youth Carnival at the Boys and Girls Club in Brookings, bringing a dairy-positive message to youths. On June 4, Dairy Fest youth events shifted back to the Swiftel Center, where an all-day carnival attracted 1,400. Every station focused on some aspect of the dairy and gave a hands-on educational experience.
Also on June 4, about 100 adults visited the South Dakota State University dairy processing plant. Another 500 visited a local dairy for a tour, and received a free luncheon sponsored by Agriculture United for South Dakota. About 400 people attended a lunch and tour of the milking parlor, freestall barn and bulk tank room at Linde Dairy of White, S.D.
“I think the cause is that we need to be advocates for the ag industry in general,” Rennich says. “They need to bring consumers to the operations and let them know where the industry is going. The youth now, especially, are farther removed from growing up on the farm. They need to understand what is totally involved in the ag industry. It’s not only what’s happening on the farm but numerous industries that support those operations. There is opportunity for those young people, so when they do pick a career, hopefully they pick agriculture.”