August 30, 2021 at 12:09 p.m.
Midwest Dairy has been working with Montgomery in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program since his rookie season. As the ambassador, Montgomery has taken part in virtual and in-person school visits and other events.
All 32 NFL teams participate in the dairy program, with one ambassador being selected from each team based on their commitment to community and child health.
The Lenkaitises milk 90 cows with two robotic milking units near St. Charles in Kane County.
“This area has a rich dairy history, but now we are just one of three dairy farms left in Kane County,” Sarah Lenkaitis said. “We want to be the tellers of our story rather than let others make the narrative.”
With an open-door policy, the Lenkaitis family hosts visitors and tours on their family farm. When Midwest Dairy asked them to host Montgomery for a Fuel Up To Play 60 photo and video shoot, they accepted.
“Being able to share our story with David and use the platform of Fuel Up To Play 60 to help tell the story of our farm was a great experience,” Lenkaitis said. “My husband has been a life-long Bears fan, so he was really excited to have a Bears player visit our farm. I grew up in Wisconsin, so I’m not quite the Bears fan he is, but it was still pretty exciting for me too.”
In late July, Montgomery spent two hours with the Lenkaitis family to learn about their registered Holstein dairy farm.
“He was open and genuinely interested in learning about our farm,” Lenkaitis said. “He had a lot of questions about the robotic milking units, the cows and their diets.”
Montgomery also wanted to learn about the Lenkaitis family.
“He was really interested in our family’s history with dairy farming, and wondered how we balance family with farming,” Lenkaitis said. “He also asked a lot of really good questions about how farming has changed over the years and all the technology we employ now.”
During the time Montgomery spent at the farm, a promotional video was created by using a rapid-fire question format.
“The questions were geared toward football, exercise and how to incorporate nutrient-rich dairy products into your diet,” Lenkaitis said.
After the video clips were made, the Lenkaitises gave Montgomery a tour of the farm while photos were taken.
“We watched the cows being milked by the robots, let him meet the cows up close by offering them hay, and then we took him to the calf barn where I mixed up a bottle of electrolytes for him to feed a calf,” Lenkaitis said.
With their location, Lenkaitis said they frequently work with Midwest Dairy to host tours and small groups of people interested in learning more about the dairy industry and where their food comes from.
“Inviting people onto our farm regularly is a good way to keep communication open and build goodwill within our community,” Lenkaitis said.
The robotic facility at Lenkaitis Holsteins was built three years ago. Before that, the Lenkaitises were milking in a 37-stall tiestall barn and wanted to expand their herd. They decided a new robotic facility was a way to make their farm sustainable for themselves and future generations.
After completion of the facility, the Lenkaitises hosted an open house where over 1,000 friends, neighbors and community members visited to see the new facility.
“We want people to ask questions and see what we are doing,” Lenkaitis said. “Building good community relations is very important, particularly with our location.”
Lenkaitis said she finds that most non-farm visitors are impressed by the amount of technology used on their farm.
“People are usually amazed at all the technology we utilize in caring for our cows, from the robotic milking units to the collars that monitor activity and health, to everything in between,” Lenkaitis said. “It supplies the data that helps us take better care of our cows.”