It's June, and you know what that means. Dairy Month, of course.
Every year a farm in Pierce County hosts the Dairy Breakfast. This year, it's happening on June 15 and is being hosted by Bev Peterson and her family.
"We just find that it's important to help promote the dairy industry," said Bev's daughter Michelle Peterson.
A farm in the Pierce County area has hosted this event every June for about the last decade, and Petersons last were hosts in 2015. Five years before that, they played host to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days.
The Peterson farm is about 2,000 acres, and the family milks 300 cows to go along with that. All will be on display at the breakfast in the form of tours around the Peterson Family Dairy, which is located two miles southwest of River Falls on Wisconsin State Highway 29.
Michelle said she and her family believe that it is important to promote the dairy industry and promote local farmers, especially around this time of the year.
The dairy industry has taken a hit in recent years due to lower prices on milk and crops. The Petersons are not the only farm affected, and they noted that many really aren't making a profit right now due to falling prices and decreased demand for their products.
Because of this and other challenges, the family is active in the Pierce County Dairy Promotion Committee.
Since this remains a challenging industry, the Petersons also keep up with the changing industry. In 2009, they built a free-stall facility. Then in late 2012, they built a 112-by-250-foot free-stall heifer and dry cow facility that holds 450 animals.
The focus is to keep the cows as comfortable as possible. The facility includes sand bedding, ventilation, and water misters so that the cows have the most comfortable bedding material and can keep cool on hot days. This not only helps the cows to be more comfortable, but it also helps the cows produce more efficiently, which in turn helps the farm run smoother.
As for the Pierce County Dairy Breakfast, family members said they expect about 1,500 people to attend. The meal will be catered, with much of the food being dairy-related. The menu will include Dad's Belgian Waffles, custard from Culver's and deep-fried cheese curds from Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.
"Everyone seemed to really enjoy their time," Michelle Peterson said of the last time they hosted this event. "We got a lot of positive feedback from it."
The promotion committee takes care of everything, so while it's a lot to ask of a family to host a breakfast for the entire county, the process goes pretty smoothly.
Last year, the dairy breakfast was hosted by Ti Shi Dairy Inc. near Spring Valley / Elmwood.
Whether it's the Ti Shi Dairy Inc., the Peterson farm or another local operation, the dairy breakfast has become a beloved tradition in Pierce County, and the importance of the dairy industry is not lost on the many attendees of this or other Dairy Month promotions.
"There's so many dairy events going on throughout the community," Michelle Peterson said. "It's just kind of nice to get people excited about dairy."