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Local Universities Get Taste of Life on the Farm

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By St. Louis District Dairy Council
Posted in Press Releases on October 20th, 2016

Fall Farm Tour Shows Diversity of Local Dairy Industry 

October 6, 2016  (Greenville, IL). – Forty nine students from three local universities swapped the lecture hall for a milking parlor as attendees of the second Annual Fall Farm Tour: Connecting Farm to Food. The educational tour, sponsored by St. Louis District Dairy Council, highlighted the unique nature of dairy farming in Illinois, with visits to Doll Dairy Farm and Marcoot Jersey Creamery, both located in Greenville, Illinois. The group included Illinois students from Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, along with Missouri students from Fontbonne University.    

The tour is part of the non-profit organization’s efforts to arm future health professionals with accurate information on how food travels from the farm to the table. “Most people don’t realize that milk is one of the original local foods. It takes on average, just 48 hours for milk to get from the cow to the grocery store shelves. We want to ensure that future professionals see first-hand how dairy farmers make that happen,” notes Joyce Fikri, nutrition educator with St. Louis District Dairy Council.

Producer Frank Doll gave students an up-close look at his Holstein herd, barn, feeding areas, milking parlor and milk tank room. For many students, the tour marked the first time they had set foot on a farm. Their questions covered topics ranging from how long cows are milked to what sustainability practices were in place.

 The Marcoot family showcased their herd of Jersey cattle and provided a look at fresh mozzarella cheese production, courtesy of the creamery’s viewing windows. Students also sampled several of the artisan cheeses produced on-site. Michael Turley, owner of nearby Rolling Lawns Farm, shared the story of his family’s century long legacy of raising high quality Holsteins. Rolling Lawns Farm processes and bottles their milk on-site through a partnership with Marcoot.

“Seeing the enormous amount of work that goes into producing milk and other dairy foods provides a deeper perspective,” notes Fikri. “Dairy farmers are committed to caring for their cows, and the land around them. While the breed of cow and farm size may differ, the steadfast commitment to exceptional quality and safety is the same.”

Candi Katchmar, field advisor for the Carlinville-based dairy cooperative Prairie Farms Dairy, capped off the day-long event for students. Her presentation provided a closer look into the dairy industry’s regulations. St. Louis District Dairy Council offers this unique dairy experience to university students on an annual basis.

 FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For more information on the Fall Farm Tour, please email jfikri@stldairycouncil.org or call St. Louis District Dairy Council at 314-835-9668. For more information on dairy foods, visit www.stldairycouncil.org .