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Up close and personal

By Staff | May 17, 2013

CAEL DONAHE, 5, a pupil at Mease pre-school in Humboldt, gets up close and personal with a Holstein calf at Dairy Day held on the Davis Dairy Farm near Gilmore City. Donahe said he liked seeing the pigs on the farm the best.

GILMORE CITY- A 110-year old dairy, owned and operated by Lawrence and Lois Davis, and their son, Glenn Davis, became a classroom on May 10 during the farm’s annual Dairy Day.

Glenn Davis said he’s been milking cattle on his family’s Gilmore City-area farm for 34 years and is much honored to help keep his family’s dairy heritage alive.

“We are the last dairy in Humboldt County, and I am proud of that,” Davis said.

The Davis farm milks around 70 head of cattle a day, marketing milk to AMPI in Sanborn, where it is eventually made into cheese that he said is sold worldwide.

The fifth annual Dairy Day on the Davis’ Farm brought approximately 375 children, ages 4 to 10, from surrounding schools.

JOHNNY HAYDEN, a pupil at Twin River Valley pre-school, had the chance to feed a goat at Dairy Day held on the Davis Dairy Farm near Humboldt on May 10.

“I hope it is learning experience for them,” said Davis. “The main key I want them to learn this year is that everything comes from a farm. Everything people use at their jobs is created from a farm.”

The main focus of Dairy Day is to feature the dairy, but also bring in other animals for the children to learn about, Davis said.

In addition to the dairy cattle and getting up close and personal with the calves, the children had the opportunity to learn about sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, miniature horses and a miniature donkey. A magician and horse and carriage rides also entertained the students. A treat of cookies and string cheese greeted tham at the end of the tour.

They also had the opportunity to learn about feed from Tim Fakler, director of nutrition at Kerber Milling, in Emmetsburg.

Fakler told the children that dairy cattle require different vitamins and minerals along with their feed and taught the children that a dairy cow can drink an entire bath tub of water every day in order to produce milk.

AMANDA DAVIS helps Cyler Cirks hold a piglet. Learning about pigs was just one of the many things to do during Dairy Day at the Davis Dairy Farm near Gilmore City.

Sandi Lee, with Lee’s Mini-Whinnies of Dakota City, brought along a few of her miniature horses and told students how the miniatures were used in the mining industry.

One of the many stops along the tour was Amanda Davis, who brought piglets to the farm.

“I am explaining to them about pigs and how they are similar to humans,” Amanda Davis said. “Pigs can sunburn just like we do. They roll in the mud to use as sunscreen.”

Davis lives in northeast Iowa, but said she enjoys traveling back for the annual Dairy Day.

“It gives the kids a chance to learn on the farm,” Davis said. “We are a small farm, and my dad knows each and every one of his cows.”

“The main key I want them to learn this year is that everything comes from a farm.” —Glen Davis Davis Dairy, Gilmore City

You can’t tour a dairy without watching cows being milked.

Chris Fisher, an employee of Davis Dairy, manned that station.

Fisher told his audiences the cows are milked twice a day. Ten cattle can be milked at a time with each cow, Fisher said, producing more than 50 pounds of milk a day.

Some of the pupils either live on a farm or have visited a farm before. But many said it was their first time visit, seeing farm animals up close.

Logan Wilkinson, 8, a third-grader at West Bend/Mallard on his first farm visit, said his favorite part was seeing the pigletes.

They wre also the favorite of Cael Donahe, 5, a pupil at Mease preschool in Humboldt.

“They roll around in the mud,” said Donahe.

Laney Montag, 9, a third-grade student at West Bend/ Mallard, enjoyed the calves the most.

“The baby cows were my favorite because they were so cute and fun to play with,” Montag said.

McKenna Grebner, 4, a pupil at Mease preschool in Humboldt, liked the calves so much, she even wanted to name one.

“I want to name her Sarah,” said Grebner.

Lawrence Davis was busy attending to the children and making sure everyone was getting to their places and enjoying themselves.

“This is good for the kids,” he said. “A lot of the little kids haven’t seen anything like this in their lifetime.”

Glenn Davis was also enjoying watching the children adoring the animals.

“How can you put value on a smiling kid’s face?” Davis asked.

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