CORNELL - More than 2,000 people of all ages visited "Breakfast on the Farm" at the VanDrese Dairy and Potato Farm in Cornell where they learned about the operations of a modern farm Saturday.
A group of about 200 volunteers were on hand to help with tours and a full breakfast of scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and pancakes catered by the Rock Lions Club. After the free meal, visitors toured the dairy barn, milking parlor, and potato warehouse.
"Breakfast on the Farm" was made possible by sponsors statewide and organized by the local Michigan State University Extension Service in cooperation with the VanDrese family, explained Warren Schauer, agriculture business management educator for Delta County's MSU Extension Service.
More than 2,000 visitors participated in the “Breakfast on the Farm” at the VanDrese Dairy and Potato Farm in Cornell on Saturday. Above, Cale Schroeder, 3, of Escanaba, places hay for the dairy cows during a tour of the barn. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
"Overall, it went well. We heard a lot of positive comments," Schauer said this morning. "We had great weather and a great turn out. Hopefully, everyone got a better feel of where their food comes from and how a modern farming operation runs."
Throughout the day, local farmers and a variety of agriculture-related displays educated visitors about the farming operations. In addition to getting up close to feed the dairy cows in the barn, other animals on site were chickens, sheep, and an occasional barn cat.
Children participated in a trivia contest during the tour and received a bag of goodies once completed. Other handouts were available for everyone including ice cream, potatoes, potato chips, and various informative literature.
Additional kids' activities included a prize search in a pool of corn kernels, tattoos, face painting, and a fire hose demonstration. Participants could also try their hand at milking a fake cow. "Jilly the Cow" and farm equipment displays and wagon rides were available throughout the day.
"Breakfast on the Farm" allows the public opportunity to see first-hand where food comes from in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner, explained Schauer.
The VanDrese family farm is certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Good Agriculture Practices. The farm is also verified as a Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program meaning the operations follow environmentally-sound practices, he said.
Three generations work on the local farm owned by Betty and her late husband Carl VanDrese. The farm consists of 700 acres and 100 dairy cows which are milked 16 at a time in the milking parlor. One hundred acres of potatoes are planted there annually.