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Guided tours are a key feature of Northern Lights Dairy's Breakfast on the Farm, but the event has grown to include many other attractions. (Northern Lights Dairy photo)

Breakfast on the Farm invites public to experience agriculture

ST. ANTHONY, N.D. — Northern Lights Dairy expects about 4,000 people will visit the dairy on June 16 for its Breakfast on the Farm event, which has morphed from breakfast and farm tours to an event with local vendors, children's activities and more.

Jennifer Holle says their family dairy farm held its first Breakfast on the Farm in 2003, shortly after it opened, at the request of a local dairy group that would hold such events at a rotating list of dairies. Though that tradition has faltered with the number of dairy farms in the area, the Holles have continued to hold Breakfast on the Farm on occasion, its most recent one four years ago. Attendance has grown every time they hold it, and Holle says the last one had the farm nearly at capacity.

The growth of the event stems, in part, from Holle's willingness to try something new. This year, that has meant inviting any Pride of Dakota vendors to come out and set up shop on the farm. She expects more than 30 vendors selling their wares, making the event almost an "Art in the Park."

The day still will include farm tours, but there also will be inflatables, a petting zoo, face painting and other activities for kids and safety presentations from the rural fire and sheriff's departments. The North Dakota Dairy Princess is slated to attend, and local businesses will have equipment displays on hand.

"It's a really fun community day," Holle says.

Breakfast will include products from Land O'Lakes, Domino's Pizza and Bearscat Donuts. The event is free, though the Pride of Dakota vendors will have products for sale, Holle says.

The event is scheduled to last from 7 to 11 a.m. Holle says attendees often range from young families who want to expose their children to agriculture to older people who grew up on farms and want to see a modern farm.

"It's a great environment," she says.

Holle says she's learned from her father-in-law about the importance of speaking up for agriculture. She and her husband, Andrew, have participated in other dairy outreach activities, including running marathons for Midwest Dairy. Events like Breakfast on the Farm help show people what agriculture is all about, Holle says.

"This is what we need to do," she says.

Northern Lights Dairy is a Grade-A facility, selling all of the milk from its 600 milking cows to Land O'Lakes. According to a 2017 map of North Dakota dairy farms, Morton County, home of Northern Lights Dairy, has the most dairies of any county in the state, with 19.

Breakfast on the Farm falls during June, which is National Dairy Month. For more information on the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1640780782702803.

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