WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A series of farm tours this month will allow families to explore modern dairy farming practices in northern Indiana. The Northern Indiana Dairy Trail, co-sponsored by Purdue Extension, will take place June 18 and 25, with five to six dairy farms open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. each day.
Participants will have an opportunity to visit each farm’s facilities and talk with the operators about animal care and feeding, milk production, and the influence of dairy farming on the community and environment.
Visitors may tour as many farms as they like each day. All tours and events, including milk and yogurt tastings and children’s activities, are free.
The 12 participating farms are in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble and St. Joseph counties, which together contain 28 percent of all dairy cows in the state. Farms on the trail range in size from 110 to more than 3,000 cows.
“Each of these outstanding farms does something a little different in how they produce milk,” said Kelly Heckaman, Kosciusko County Extension director. “Each has a different herd size. Some have robots, some have automatic calf feeders, one is organic, one has a digester and one is Amish. We wanted a representative cross section of the dairy industry in northern Indiana.”
A panel of private and public volunteers and sponsors, including the American Dairy Association Indiana and Indiana Dairy Producers, organize the Dairy Trail.
In addition to the focus on modern dairy farming, some farms will feature displays and activities based on historical farming methods as part of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration. The trail has been designated a Bicentennial Legacy Project by the state.
No registration is required. Volunteers and tour guides will assist with parking and guide visitors around each farm. For more information about the participating farms and the history of the Dairy Trail project, visit http://www.dairytrail.com/.
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