Take a ‘prefresher’ course at Roadside Dairy during Dairy Night on the Farm

Roadside Dairy's barns line the east side of 241st Avenue, just a mile north of the former Bristol Center store. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPER GROUP
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Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Todd and Sue Hendrickson are “dairy” excited to give a prefresher course.

“This is our prefresh barn where we have expectant mothers waiting for calving in the next 30 days, and they get a special ration geared for their point in the gestational cycle, and next to it is the maternity stall,” said Todd Hendrickson, proud of the cows that he raises on his family’s rural Greenleafton farm, Roadside Dairy, and the milk they produce.

The Hendricksons’ farm is home to a herd of 140 pretty maids all in a row, lined up twice daily in the herringbone parlor. This year, the farm is also the site of the Fillmore County American Dairy Association (ADA) Dairy Night on the Farm, slated for Saturday, June 16. The popular event offers farm tours, a cheeseburger dinner complete with milk, cheese curds and ice cream, a chance to meet the local ADA dairy royalty and ambassadors, dairy displays and even an opportunity to pet a calf.

It’s Sue’s family homestead, having belonged to her parents, Juan and Lois Tammel.

Her husband explained, “This farm here…it’s my wife’s home farm. We bought it from her mom and dad, and we’ve been here 28 years, I think. We milk around 140 cows, have two full-time employees and a couple of part-time employees.”

The majority of the herd is registered Holsteins, interspersed with a few Jerseys. The family farms 480 acres – some of it owned and some of it rented – and they raise corn, soy, alfalfa and winter rye. Those are the four main crops.

“Our daughter, Amanda, and her husband, Aaron, help on the farm. Amanda is a full-time employee on the farm, and another full-time employee is Pete Schell,” Todd said. “Amanda’s here as our calf-raiser and helps with doing a lot of the milking, and Pete milks, takes care of the cows and mixes feed. He does a lot of farm-related chores. They’re both very dedicated to their profession, and they do a fantastic job.”

The Hendricksons’ cows take a milk break twice a day in the double-six herringbone parlor.

“It’s already 25 years old,” Todd observed. “We milk two times a day, once at 4 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. It’s about three hours each shift to milk and clean up. The operation has been pretty much the same size – this is our biggest. One of the things we strive for is milk quality. Foremost Farms, where we sell our milk to, for several years in a row, we have gotten recognition for our milk quality. We obviously strive for production, but quality is number one.”

Todd cited that while he grew up on a farm and had considered other careers, dairying is where his heart remains. “I just like being my own boss, and I love the cows,” he said. “I don’t necessarily like the day-to-day chores, but I like to see the cows…getting better and better.”

Visitors to Roadside Dairy will enjoy tours of the main free-stall barn, the calf barn and the prefresh maternity area, all located on the east side of 241st Avenue.

The farm is located at 14163 241st Ave., Preston, and Dairy Night on the Farm begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m.

The public is most certainly invited to stop by and take a look around, learn about how cows give milk…a prefresher course, of course, and nosh on dairy products during the ADA’s dinner.

To reach the farm from Preston, take Greenleafton Road to 140th St., take a left and, at the second intersection, the farm is on the left.

From Harmony, take Highway 44 to 241st Ave., take a right onto 241st, then proceed one mile north past the first four-way intersection to find the farm’s barns on the east side of the road.

The Fillmore County ADA’s board includes Doug and Heather Hopp, Trinity and Emily Johnson, Adam and Rachel Hinckley, Paul and Nicki Schriever, Kevin and Kelly Biel, Amanda Gillespie, Michael Redalen and Margaret Johnson. For more information on Dairy Night on the Farm, contact Trinity Johnson at 507-273-7550.