The 2021 Value-Added Tours will be presented by the Professional Dairy Producers Oct. 13 and 14. The tours feature five farms with diverse approaches and value streams when it comes to retail sales, on-farm processing and capturing value from methane, manure or other byproducts.

Retail sales, on-farm processing and capturing value from methane, manure or other byproducts are a few of the ways that dairy farms are adding value streams to their operations. Understanding the options, markets, regulations and challenges for the diverse options available is the first step for producers as they evaluate opportunities.

The PDPW Value-Added Dairy Tours will give tour attendees behind-the-scenes visits to five dairy farms that have successfully diversified their operations, as well as panel discussions with the farmers. The tour will be held Wednesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 14. On both days, the tour will depart from Kewaunee  at 9 a.m. and return by 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 and 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 14.

“Today’s producers have more options than ever before to create new value streams for their dairy farm, but each opportunity requires research, planning and an understanding of the marketplace,” said Katy Schultz, PDPW president and dairy producer from Fox Lake. “Learning from other dairy farmers and business professionals about what opportunities may be the best fit for your operation can give you a head start as you begin the planning process.”

On the first day, tour stops will include:

• Ebert Enterprises, a sesventh generation dairy, beef and cropping farm in Algona. The Ebert family has worked to complete the circle from farm to consumer all within their county with the addition of Salmon’s Meat Products, an established retail and wholesale smoked-meat products business, a meat harvest facility adjacent to the farm, and Homestead Kitchen & Tap, a farm-to-table minded restaurant.

• A roundtable discussion will be held over lunch.

• A visit with brothers Tony and Jacob Brey and their wives Moriah and Lauren, who have grown Brey Cycle Farm in Door County from 100 registered Holstein cows to more than 600. They have also added an on-farm beef store featuring Brey Family Beef. As a founding member of Peninsula Pride Farms, the family is also focused on sustainability.

On the second day, tour stops will include:

• Grotegut Dairy Farm Inc. in Newton, a third-generation dairy farm that is home to more than 3,100 dairy cows. Since 2009, the farm has operated manure digesters, and in 2019, Grotegut Dairy partnered with DTE Biogas Energy to “clean” and convert methane gas created from the farm’s manure into Renewable Natural Gas, which is injected into a natural gas line.

• The farmstead cheese operation at Pagel’s Ponderosa, Kewaunee. It makes award-winning cheese exclusively with milk from the 5,500 cows from their dairy farm. They offer a variety of cheese spreads, pizzas and block cheeses in addition to their Ponderosa Farmstead cheese line. In addition, manure is converted into compressed natural gas which is moved via trailer and injected into an interstate pipeline in Newton.

• Kinnard Farms in Casco, which is partnered with Detroit Edison and REV-LNG to build and operate a methane digester that produces renewable natural gas and produces enough energy to offset the energy use of more than 10,000 households. The project is designed with a 30-day manure retention time, which reduces pathogen content and odor of remaining manure nutrients. The dairy also began operating its “Calf Depot” nursery for calves from birth through Day 3 before they are transported to The Heifer Authority in Colorado.

Registration includes bus travel, refreshments and lunch. To learn more about the 2021 PDPW Value Added Dairy Tours and to register, visit www.pdpw.org or contact PDPW at 1-800-947-7379.

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