IDP Summer Tour Recap
Our first stop was to Stewart-Peterson's headquarters in West Bend, Wisconsin. What a terrific welcome we received! Scott Stewart and Randy Niemann were there with many of their Market 360 dairy team. Matt presented information on dairy trends, and they answered our questions and fed us a delicious lunch.
Our next stop was to Soaring Eagle Dairy in Newton, Wisconsin. We heard how Jim Fitzgerald turned a 60-cow tie stall barn into an 1100-cow facility, managed by Jim and his 3 daughters, Kelly, Julie and Stacy. After that, we went to John Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, WI. This large-scale operation started with a handful of cows and John's father, and now they milk around 5000 cows with a carousel rotary parlor.
An evening banquet was enjoyed by all, and we were inspired by Dr. Lance Fox's experience climbing Mount Everest. The next morning, we visited American Foods beef slaughter plant (see article below), followed by tours of Calf Source's 9000 head calf-raising facility. This was probably the largest calf raising facility any of us had ever seen, and the calves were incredibly healthy and well-cared for. Manuel and Miguel gave us a terrific tour and answered our questions.
Our last regular stop was to Robinway Dairy, and Jay Binversie gave us a great tour of his farm. We got to see his new teat-brush system in the parlor, as well as his sand separation system. Finally, we stopped at Kopp's for lunch and a chance to taste some of the best custard imaginable. Following are some quotes from satisfied tour attendees:
"I saw dairy farmers that had a vision beyond their generation."
"The comradeship built on the bus and while on the tour is what I find has the most lasting value to me, even though each stop was so interesting. The slaughter plant was way above my expectations, never dreamed we could get so up-close-and-personal!"
"Very educational and the comradeship is invaluable! You can learn something from everyone but on the tour you have time to get into each other's mind. I will never forget the slaughter plant- what an education."
"The IDP tour was a one of a kind dairy experience for me. We saw it all, from birth to slaughter. I really enjoyed it! Thanks!"
"The IDP Summer tour was another great success. Not only was it fun but also rewarding and a great learning experience with quality facilities to visit along with the fellowship with other dairy producers and industry professionals. I am already looking forward to the next IDP Tour!"
"IDP's Summer Tour allowed me to meet many others connected to the dairy industry, especially fellow dairy farmers, and have the chance to learn from them."
"I enjoyed seeing how John Pagel connected his large scale operation to the consumer, building his farm from the ground up!"
Make plans to join us on our next tour in Plymouth and LaPorte, the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange, on July 30-31. We will be sending out details next week, which will also be posted on our website, www.IndianaDairy.org!