I am Faith Cullens, a dairy educator with MSU Extension. In 2009, I spearheaded a project we called Breakfast on the Farm.This came about after discussing my new role at MSU with several dairy producers. The producers shared with me their desire to communicate with the general public. I had recently moved to Michigan from Wisconsin where they have ‘dairy breakfasts’ in June as a way to show off their farm.
The goals that we came up with for BOTF were:To educate the general public about modern farmingTo educate legislators about farmingEngage the farm community in the event – not just dairy farmersAnd to teach producers how to talk to the public
The first event we had was located at Dutch Meadows Dairy in Fowler, MI – near Lansing. The event was really popular and we had 1250 breakfasts served.In 2010 there were/are 4 BOTF- Clinton Co (Lansing) we had about 2500 visitors, Washtenaw Co (Ann Arbor) again 2500 visitors, Isabella Co 1300 visitors (beef/cash crop farm near Mt Pleasant) and there is one this weekend in N MI’s Alpena Co
Although each event is unique to the farm and area, in general we have all followed a similar pattern:The breakfast and tour is free, although a ticket is required. This helps us to prepare for the crowd. We have gotten pretty consistent 50-60% return on tickets. We have asked ticket vendors to keep tickets behind the counter to keep people from grabbing large stacks and throwing off counts. The most popular ticket venues have been family oriented places: library, ice cream shops, pizza shops, grocery stores. Each BOTF thus far has chosen to have a self guided tour so that people can go at their own pace.At the end of the event we have surveyed people to get demographic information and also to see what their attitudes towards farming are, what they learned and what they enjoyed most. We have not got all the data compiled yet, but it is obvious that calves, wagon rides, equipment and milking parlor are the top favorites.
We really strive to make each event educational, not just a visit for free food and to see the cute calves!Here are some examples
Planning Committee<br />Educational signage<br />Kitchen<br />Michigan Farm Showcase<br />Donations<br />Volunteers<br />Parking<br />Tickets<br />Marketing *hired out for state-wide consistency<br />
Biosecurity<br />Visitor policy<br />Asked if they had been out of country<br />Sign in<br />Issued booties<br />
VISITOR POLICY<br />Please follow each of the following steps:<br /><ul><li>Before proceeding, sign one of our visitor logs
Wear the provided plastic boots while visiting the cow and calf barns
Follow the tour route and enter facilities at designated points*
Use hand sanitizer after touring the barns or touching animals
Dispose of plastic boots in the garbage </li></ul>If you have been outside the United States within the past 7 days, please ask a volunteer for Mr. Jerry May before proceeding.<br />The health and welfare of the Jandernoa’s dairy cows, and the safety of the product they produce, is of highest priority to us. To help protect the cows, their milk, and you, we have developed the above visitor policy. <br />* If you would like to see an area not on the tour, please ask a volunteer for assistance<br />Thank you for your cooperation to make this day fun and successful <br />
Statewide Efforts<br />Marketing<br />Tickets, Flyers, Posters, T-shirts, Press releases, Social Media, Website<br />Educational Signs<br />Supplies<br />Trailer to haul/store, griddles, sign boards, coolers, and other misc. equipment<br />Statewide Coordinator<br />Nancy ThelenMSU Extension, Ag Literacy Educator<br />firstname.lastname@example.org 734-222-3825<br />