December 13, 2021 at 1:47 p.m.

Education at core of agritourism initiatives

Mirons welcomed prime-time guests to farm
Fran Miron (left) watches as the cast of “The Bachelorette” churns butter on his family’s 180-cow dairy near Hugo, Minnesota. The Mirons hosted the crew this summer to give a glimpse of farming in Minnesota.  PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC
Fran Miron (left) watches as the cast of “The Bachelorette” churns butter on his family’s 180-cow dairy near Hugo, Minnesota. The Mirons hosted the crew this summer to give a glimpse of farming in Minnesota. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC

By Jennifer Coyne- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

HUGO, Minn. – Fran Miron and his family are no strangers to agritourism, but some of their more recent visitors helped the Minnesota dairy industry garner national attention.  
“We have a lot of opportunities to share our stories and passion for agriculture because of our closeness to the Twin Cities and metro area,” Miron said. “In this particular case, there were probably millions of viewers who got a 7-to 8-minute look at dairy farming.”
The Mirons hosted the cast of “The Bachelorette” earlier this year on their 180-cow dairy in Washington County near Hugo. The content from the tour was broadcast in the episode which aired Nov. 23 on ABC.
“When I saw the episode, I was really pleased with the amount of attention that was provided to Midwest agriculture and dairy in particular,” Miron said.
The episode depicted activities on the farm, some more modern than others, for the group of men to engage in friendly competition – a staple of the prime-time show. The guests had a chance to milk a cow by hand, bottle feed calves, pitch manure and churn butter.
“Milking cows by hand is not something we typically do on a farm, but we do strip cows out,” Miron said. “It seemed like it was really wholesome competition and all the guys were engaged.”
Miron and his wife, Mary Ann, farm in partnership with two of their sons, Paul and Andrew, and their families.
With each farm tour, the Mirons make a point to accommodate their guests by directing activities to meet the desires of the tour participants. In this case, there was a lot of interest in the livestock on the dairy, said Miron.
But perhaps what the guests found most astonishing was how a current-day dairy farm operates.
“Any time we do tours, I think what impresses people most is that there isn’t a day off from farm work,” Miron said. “Just because we do a tour, or it’s a holiday, doesn’t mean the work stops. There is always somebody still working on the farm.”
The tour of the Mirons’ farm was a part of “The Bachelorette” episode in which the woman brought a select number of men to her home state of Minnesota. When the episode aired and the bachelorette decided which men would continue in the competition, Miron watched and hoped the experience of his farm played a small role.
“Michelle was making tough decisions on the type of people she wants in her life and some of those characteristics she was looking for in a person,” Miron said. “I look at the values we have on our farm – respect and hard work, caring for livestock – it fit in with some of the things she seemed to be looking for based on her comments on the show. And hopefully other people made that connection as well. As farmers, we’re passionate about what we do.”
When planning the episode, the Mirons were contacted by Heather Coffelt of Prior to the Plate Agritours, LLC.
“I’m passionate about agriculture, and anytime we have a chance to share farm life with others it’s a win,” Coffelt said. “The Miron family is such a wonderful ambassador for the dairy industry and great people.”
Miron is a dairy farmer by trade but has a degree in agriculture education. Likewise, half of his grown children teach agriculture in the state.
“Any time we can communicate our story with the public, I think that’s kind of neat,” Miron said.
Every year, the family hosts a variety of people, including private parties, school-aged children and government leaders. One of their most impactful events was the county’s breakfast on the farm in 2019, where the Mirons welcomed about 2,000 people to their dairy.
“Everyone has a right to know where milk comes from and how it’s produced,” Miron said. “There’s always an opportunity to provide that information to people.”
With fewer people directly involved in farming, taking the time to expose consumers to this sector of agriculture is a vitally important part of being a dairy farmer, in Miron’s view. Not only is his family able to help be the face of a product for consumers but they can potentially influence future regulations in the industry.
“As I provide tours to young people, at some point they are going to be our future leaders and they may have the potential to influence agriculture in some way,” Miron said. “I hope with these tours there’s an imprint of our farm and how we operate, to build a level of trust and understanding.”
And with each interaction, there is a multitude of people who are indirectly reached, as was the case with the cast of “The Bachelorette.”
“We have an opportunity to talk with people and show them first-hand the farm,” Miron said. “Today, when we do those tours, our reach goes extends much further with social media.”


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