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Jorgensons celebrate 100 years on the family farm

DECODING DAIRY: The truth about labels


A DAY IN THE FARM LIFE Behind the scenes at Hendrickx Brothers Farm


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Merry Dairy Month!


Holy cow! Very Dairy Fun Facts The average dairy cow produces enough milk to fill 125 glasses per day. Cows have a great sense of smell. They can smell something up to six miles away. Cows chew their food at least 50 times per minute. They spend 10 hours a day chewing; it aids in their digestion.

FROM THE PERHAM FOCUS STAFF On a hot summer day, who doesn’t love a nice, big scoop of ice cream? Or crave a cold glass of milk? While perusing the local supermarket, who can resist reaching for those squeakyfresh cheese curds? And whose grocery lists don’t regularly include basics like butter, milk, cheese and cream? Dairy products are a part of our daily lives, and, for many of us, a part of our daily diets. Dairy is an industry vital to our culture, economy, and dinner tables. That’s why, decades ago, the United States designated June as Dairy Month – a time set aside to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributions to our society. June Dairy Month, now a well-established annual tradition, began in 1937 as National Milk Month. According to the Midwest Dairy Association (MDA), the theme of that first year’s event was “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.” It originated as a way to help stabilize dairy demand

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The Midwest Dairy Association is asking people to “Raise a Glass of Milk to Toast Dairy’s Goodness’ in celebration of June Dairy Month.

during periods of peak production, when cows were turned out to pasture. It was sponsored by chain stores, with support from the National Dairy Council. Today, 77 years later, Dairy Month continues to recognize the importance of dairy foods, and also turns our attention to the people who make them possible to enjoy. To celebrate, the MDA is asking everyone to “Raise a Glass of Milk to Toast to Dairy’s Goodness” in 2014.

Over the years, Dairy Month has evolved to include national, regional and local involvement. Communities across the country have embraced it, organizing on-the-farm events such as open houses, breakfasts, dairy princess pageants, and even the occasional cow milking contest. Dairy farmers often throw open their doors in June, allowing the public to take tours and learn more about the businesses and

daily routines of the workers. The MDA says, “the special link between farmers and consumers is really the basis of what June Dairy Month is all about” – celebrating products that are real, fresh and simple, and the people who make those products possible. In Minnesota, dairy is a huge industry, well worthy of recognition. An industry profile by the state department of agriculture in 2010 ranks Minnesota as the sixth largest dairy state in the U.S. According to the MDA: -There are 3,354 licensed dairy herds in Minnesota. -Minnesota dairy farms produced approximately 1,063 million gallons of milk in 2013. -Minnesota farms generate approximately $1.77 billion in milk sales annually. -Dairy products are the fourth largest agricultural commodity in Minnesota. -Minnesota is the 7th largest milk-producing state in the U.S. -It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Spots on cows are like snowflakes: no two are identical. On average, Americans consume two dairy servings per day. For adults, three daily servings are recommended; for kids, two to two-and-a-half. The average dairy herd in the United States is 196 cows. Ninety-seven percent of U.S. dairy farms are family-owned. Chocolate milk helps refuel tired muscles. It contains an optimal ratio of carbohydrate-to-protein, and is almost twice as effective as commercial sports drinks. All 50 states in the U.S. have dairy farms. There are nearly 47,000 licensed dairy farms in the nation. Source: Midwest Dairy Association


Dairy farms recognized for superior cow care In honor of June Dairy Month, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson has released the annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts. Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower count is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life. This year, 115 dairy farms in Minnesota are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average under 100,000 somatic cell count. For more than a decade, dairy experts with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and

University of Minnesota have been working with the state’s dairy farmers to lower somatic cell counts. When the initiative began in 2003, the 100 herds honored that year included those with count averages as high as 144,000, compared to the goal today of obtaining a count under 100,000. Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because processors will pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive significantly more per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd

average is high. The farmers who make the list receive a certificate of congratulations signed by Commissioner Frederickson. Five farmers in Otter Tail County made the list this year. They include: -Steven Schultz, with ProAg -Suzanne Jacobs, with Nelson Creamery Association -Locker Dairy, with Dairy Farmers of America -Joseph Schmidt, with ProAg -Michael and Donna Ruther, with Lakes Area Cooperative

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Decoding dairy: The truth about labels ELIZABETH HUWE Milk, yogurt and cheese are just a few well-known examples of dairy products that can be found in any neighborhood grocery store. We all know of them. Most of us buy them. But how many of us really understand exactly what we’re buying? Sometimes, certain words and phrases on the labels can be confusing. What exactly do these labels mean? And does it make any difference in the quality of the product? Read on for an explanation of some commonly used terms. Pasteurized Pasteurizing is the process of thoroughly heating a product in order to kill all bacteria that it might contain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that “every particle of (Grade A) milk or milk product” be heated to a specific temperature for a set amount of time. Depending on the product, requirements range from 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 0.01 seconds. Raw milk Raw milk is exactly what it sounds like: milk that is fresh from the cow and has not been pasteurized. According to Minnesota law, milk that has not been pasteurized and cooled cannot be advertised, offered or exposed for sale with the intent

of human consumption. However, consumers are allowed to go directly to the producer (farmer) to purchase raw milk. Pasteurized milk is generally given preference over raw due to concerns over food safety. Some people prefer raw milk, for various reasons including nutrition, ethics, the environment or digestive tolerance. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of becoming ill from drinking raw milk is about nine times greater than it is from drinking pasteurized milk. According to the CDC, consumption of raw dairy products caused 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitalizations and two deaths in the years between 1998 and 2011. More than 80 percent of those cases involved individuals younger than 20 years old. Homogenized Milk naturally separates into two layers, with the thicker cream floating on top of skim milk. When milk is homogenized, it is pumped through a series of small openings under high pressure. This process breaks up the fats, which make up cream, and distributes the particles evenly through the milk liquid. If milk is not homogenized, it will need to be stirred or shaken to redistribute the cream before it can be used or consumed. Otherwise, you would just get a mouthful of cream.

Antibiotic-free This label on a dairy product is somewhat of a misnomer. Whether milk is regular or organic, the FDA has strict testing requirements to ensure that there are no antibiotics in consumer dairy products. In other words, all dairy products in the grocery store are antibiotic free, not just the ones that say so on the label. Samples of milk must be taken from each farm’s bulk holding tank before it is transferred to a milk truck. When trucks arrive at processing plants, another sample is taken and subjected to an “incredibly sen-

sitive” test for antibiotics, said Daryl Larson, plant manager at Bongards Creameries in Perham. Only then, when the milk’s purity has been confirmed, can the processor unload the milk. Every dairy plant in the country follows this protocol, no matter what the milk will be used for, Larson said. If antibiotics are found, the milk is dumped and the individual farm samples are checked to see where the contamination happened. Non-organic farmers may treat a sick cow with antibiotics or other LABELS TO 8 ��





medicines that could get into her milk. When this happens, that cow is milked with a special bucket to catch and withhold the affected milk. After treatment is over, the cow’s milk will be tested to ensure it is clear before being put into the supply. Lactose Lactose is a natural component of milk and other dairy products. Chemically speaking, it is a form of sugar – just like sucrose, glucose and cellulose. According to the Mayo Clinic, lactose intolerance happens when a person’s, digestive system cannot properly process lactose, causing symptoms such as nausea, gas or bloating after consuming dairy. Many “lactose-free” dairy products have added lactase, the enzyme that breaks lactose down into sugars that are easier to digest. Rather than remov-

ing the natural lactose, it is transformed. Organic There are many motivations for buying organic dairy products, but some claims by producers are more tentative truths than others. Organic farms differ from conventional farms in that they go through a certification process by the United States Department of Agriculture to prove certain fertilizers, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics are never used on their operation. For livestock producers, the certification includes using only 100 percent organic feed and animal welfare standards – such as providing outdoor access. “Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity and using only approved substances,” according to the United States Department

of Agriculture’s National Organic Program website. When it comes to the nutrition of dairy products, the benefit in buying organic is questionable. According to the Midwest Dairy Association, research can find “no difference between organic and regular milk in quality, safety or nutrition.” Organic farming also does not necessarily affect the taste, freshness or health benefits from milk, the association said.

reduced-fat (2 percent) milk have had some, but not all, of the fat removed. In lowfat milk, fat makes up about 1 percent of the total serving weight, with about 3 grams of fat per serving. In reduced fat milk, 5 grams of fat make up about 2 percent of the total serving weight. Whole milk has not had any fat removed. On average, whole milk will have 8 grams of fat and 150 calories in a serving. In other words, whole milk is about 3 percent fat, by weight.

Skim, low-fat, reduced-fat and whole milk When buying milk from a store, color-coded cartons and bottles serve a greater purpose than looking pretty in the cooler. Skim milk has had all fat removed during processing, which is why some people say it tastes like water. Although there is no fat in skim milk, it still has about 80 calories per 8 ounce serving Low-fat (1 percent) and

Live and active cultures Some dairy products, such as yogurt, are made by adding specific, good bacteria – or cultures – to pasteurized milk. A voluntary “live and active cultures” label lets the consumer know that cultures have been used and are still present in the product. According to the National Yogurt Association’s website, this seal guarantees a

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A day in the farm life Behind the scenes at Hendrickx Brothers Farm ELIZABETH HUWE June is Dairy Month – a time set aside to recognize the time and work that dairy farmers put in to provide dairy products to people around the world. Aside from the farmers themselves, how many people understand what actually happens on a dairy farm? What is their work day like? Although the United States began as a primarily agricultural nation, the average consumer is more than three generations removed from a farm or ranch, according to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Jeff, Bryan and Bradley Hendrickx, of Hendrickx Brothers Farms in rural New York Mills, shared a day on their farm as an ex-

Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Bryan, Jeff and Bradley Hendrickx, left to right, are the brothers behind Hendrickx Brothers Farms in rural New York Mills. They began milking together in 2005.

ample of what goes on, 24 hours a day, 356 days a year. The Hendrickxes have been milking cows since April 2005; they moved in to their current barn in October of 2008. They have about 125 Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss dairy cows, with another 81 that

will calve and resume producing by this October. Every farm, and every day, runs differently than the next depending on location, weather, the animals and other tasks that need to be completed. Sometimes a

Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Jana Hendrickx helps with some of the morning chores, such as feeding calves. DAY IN THE LIFE TO 11 �� Little brother Jacob comes along, too.



Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Left: In the morning, Bradley and Jayne milk cows in the parlor. Two sets of up to eight cows are milked at a time. Center: Jayne prepares one of the cows by stripping milk from its teats. Right: Bradley puts the milker on a cow.


cow needs help while calving at 3 o’clock in the morning, or rain forces field work to stop and wait until later. Ideal, “normal” days never happen, said Jeff. Something can always go wrong, or go better than planned. Going with the flow is the name of the game. Following is a peek into what one day on the farm entailed, on a sunny day in June: 8:00 a.m. Work starts at the farm. Jeff starts feeding the young calves their morning milk and grain. Today, he has some extra “help” from his children, Jana (3-1/2 years old) and Jacob (1-1/2 years old). Jana says that when she grows up, she wants to keep wearing pink boots and farming with Dad. Bryan works on feeding the older calves.

In the barn, Bradley and Jayne Whiteford, Jeff’s girlfriend, start milking cows in the parlor. The cows wait in a holding pen after being rounded up from the pasture. Two sets of eight cows can be milked on each side of the parlor at a time. First, the cows’ teats are dipped with a sanitizer. Next, they are wiped clean with a microfiber towel. Milk is stripped from each teat to check that it is good and then the milker “claw” is attached. Each claw has four cups that will use a vacuum system to milk the cow. A computer controls each milker and tracks the rate at which the cow is letting down milk. When the milk-flow slows, the computer turns off the milker and retrieves the claw with an attached cord. From the claw, milk is pulled by vacuum through a pipeline and filters into a storage tank. In the tank, the milk will be cooled to less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

As the cows finish milking, their teats are dipped with another sanitizer to prevent infection. When the entire side is done, a hydraulic arm lifts the headstalls and the cows return to the pasture. 10:00 a.m. Milking and calf feeding are done, so it is time to clean up. Jayne sprays down the milking area with a high pressure hose. The walls are plastic and the floor slopes toward drain slats, so any manure or dirt washes away easily. The milker claws are attached to their ports and run through a sanitizing cycle, along with the inside of the pipeline. Towels that were used during milking are washed and dried to be used again. Every other day, a milk truck comes from the Nelson Creamery Association to deliver the milk for processing.

11:30 a.m. Time for lunch and a break. Everyone assembles for lunch, cooked at home by Faye, the boys’ mother. As they eat, conversation ranges from stories about Jana and Jacob to planning the rest of the day. Kari Sayer, the brothers’ sister, is home for the day to help with some of the field preparation for planting. “You’re your own boss,” said Bryan of the planning and why he chose to farm. “But, you’d better do it because you like it.” 12:30 p.m. After lunch, it’s time to get back to work. Jeff and Jayne feed the sheep and more calves, while Jana picks chicken eggs. Jacob is ready for a nap. DAY IN THE LIFE TO 12 ��

Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Left: After freshening (having a calf) or being treated with certain medications, a cow’s milk is collected in a catch bucket, rather than letting it go into the bulk tank with the good milk. Jeff takes the milk from this bucket to feed to the younger bottle calves as Jana watches. Center: Once the entire group of cows has finished milking, the headstalls will be lifted and the cows will walk out to return to the pasture. Right: These computers track information about the cows as they are milked. Stats include how long the milker has been going, total amount of milk, and temperature. Once the computer determines the cow is done, it will automatically shut off and remove the milker.


Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

Left: Bryan feeds the milking herd with a TMR (total mixed ration) mixer. Center: Siblings Bradley Hendrickx and Kari Sayer discuss how to disc chisel a field so it can be planted with the year’s crop. Right: Jacob insisted on helping his dad, Jeff, carry a milk bucket back to the barn.


might be pushed back later in order to accomplish more in the fields.

“Raising my kids on the farm, that’s the best part,” said Jeff. Kari takes a tractor and disc chisel plow to a field that still needs to be worked up for planting. Bradley starts field work, as well. Bryan uses another tractor and a TMR (total mixed ration) mixer to feed the milking herd. In addition to pasture grass, the cows have a diet of hay, silage and grain.

8:00 p.m. Back to the barn. Bryan and Bradley bring the cows up to be milked again, while Jeff feeds calves.


7:00 p.m. Field work goes on until supper is ready, depending on what work needs to be done. In the summer, when Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS At each stall, the milker claw attaches to a base for hay needs to be cut and baled, everything else sanitizing after each milking.

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12:00 a.m. As long as everything goes relatively smoothly, it’s time to go home, get some sleep and get ready for another day tomorrow. “If you take care of the cows, they take care of you,” Jeff said of the work he and the other family mem-

bers put in every day of the year. “We eat our own animals and drink our own milk. Especially with the kids drinking it, that’s even more incentive to do a good job.” For the Hendrickx brothers and family, it’s always Dairy Month.


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A love of the land Jorgensons celebrate 100 years on the family farm LINA BELAR For the Perham Focus Marlin Jorgenson and his wife, Ardell, love the land. You can hear it in their voices when they talk about how much their grandchildren enjoy coming to visit the farm. You can see it in their eyes when they look out from the deck of their house over their 237-acre farm. And you can sense, although they aren’t people to brag, that this farm has achieved a singular status in their hearts by being named a Century Farm. The Century Farm recognition program is sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau. It recognizes farms that have been in continuous ownership by a family for 100 years or more. Since the program began in 1976, over 9,700 Minnesota farms have been recognized. Each year, Century Farm recipients receive an outdoor sign designating the farm as a Century Farm, along with a certificate signed by the governor of Minnesota and presidents of the farm bureau and state fair. In 2014, the Jorgenson farm became a Century Farm. The story of the Jorgenson family in Otter Tail County, however, goes back even further. Marlin’s grandfather, George Jorgenson, was born in 1864 in Denmark and came to America in 1883. He married Anna Meester in Plankington, S.D., where they lived for a few years in a sod shanty. George and Anna moved on Christmas Day, 1893 to

Submitted photo

Marlin and Ardell Jorgenson, center, with their family on the farm in 2011.

Lina Belar/FOCUS

Ardell and Marlin Jorgenson, on their farm in June. The Jorgenson farm, established in 1914, has just been recognized as a Minnesota Century Farm.

Butler Township, coming by freight car with their cattle, horses, pigs, machinery and any other property they could pack. In Butler Township, George purchased 160 acres of heavy timber, and later another 40 acres of land adjoining. He and Anna stayed in the area for many years, raising their children and becoming active in the community. For several years, George was the school treasurer for School District 165 in Butler Township, where their children went to school. When immigrants arrived from Holland in 1910, George helped to haul them from the railway station New York Mills to their new farms in Butler Township. In 1914, George purchased land in Gorman Township – the land his grandson, Marlin, is still farming today.

The title abstract for the property tells the rest of the story. Like much of the land in the area, it had originally been deeded to the Northern Pacific Railway who sold off some of the parcels. By 1874, this parcel was owned by Frederick Rischow. On December 9, 1914, George Jorgenson purchased it from Rischow Submitted photo for $12,000. This garage is the last building still standing from the farm’s early years. Like the George and Anna lived farm itself, the building is a century old. there for 28 years before moving to Perham to retire. After George passed away in 1947, the farm was it to be handed down to Clarence, his youngest son. Later, Clarence handed it down to Your farm is your future, so don’t take the risk: his son, Marlin. The garage is the only buy before the storm hits. Contact me for all of building still standing from those early years; it is about your farm insurance needs: Crop, Hail, Auto, and more! a century old. The farm house was torn down just a Lisa Preuss, Farmers Union Insurance Agency few years ago. For many years, the (218) 385385-3344 or Website: JORGENSONS TO 18 ��




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Lina Belar/FOCUS

A sign for Jorgenson Drive marks the site of the 100-year-old Jorgenson farm, in Gorman Township, just northwest of Perham.


Jorgensons ran a dairy farm on the property. They had 60 cows, raised hogs and chickens, and grew oats, corn and alfalfa on the open land. In 1990, the dairy was sold and Marlin began working for Prairie Bean, who leased some of Marlin’s land for growing beans. Today, Marlin works

On Saturday, Aug. 9, Marlin and Ardell Jorgenson will have a Century Farm Party. It will be a potluck event to which the public is invited. Look inside future editions of the Perham Focus for more information.

for Daggett as a driver. He continues to lease out some land for growing potatoes, corn and beans – always watching it closely to make sure it’s being handled properly. Once, he stopped a plow driver who had begun plowing too deeply, bringing the red sand to the surface. In this area, Marlin explained, you can’t plow too deep or noth-

ing will grow. The farm is now mainSubmitted photo ly recreational for the The original farmhouse, pictured here in 1968, was just torn down a few years Jorgensons. They have rid- ago. One of the rooms in the house – the most protected room – used to be used ing horses, Arabians and to store seed. miniature, and a friendly mix of ducks and geese. The younger generations like to come and spend their summers at the farm. “I’m saving this land for them,” said Marlin.

More than 200 Century Farms honored this year

The Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau have recognized 215 Minnesota farms as 2014 Century Farms. Qualifying farms have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years and are 50 acres or more. Century Farm families receive a commemorative sign, as well as a certificate signed by the state fair and farm bureau presidents and Governor Mark Dayton. Since the program began in 1976, over 9,900 Minnesota farms have been recognized as Century Farms.

Lina Belar/FOCUS

The warranty deed shows transfer of ownership of the farm from Frederick Rischow to George Jorgenson in 1914.

Area 2014 Century Farm families are: -Karppinen Farm, Frazee, 1913 -Lundquist Farms, Battle Lake, 1883 -Swend Larson Descendants, Dalton, 1914 -Ten Mile Farm, LLC, Dalton, 1914 -Buchholz Family Farm, Fergus Falls, 1906 -Juvrud Farm, Henning, 1911 -Albert and Violet Huwe, New York Mills, 1913 -Richard and Karen Otremba Muckala, New York Mills, 1908 -Marlin C. Jorgenson, Perham, 1914 -Reynolds Farm, Underwood, 1884 -Snyder Century Farm, Wadena, 1914



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Rural Living  

Rural Living 2014

Rural Living  

Rural Living 2014