June 12, 2023 at 1:22 p.m.

Inspired to promote

McNamara hosts Goodhue County Breakfast on the Farm

By Amy [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

GOODHUE, Minn. – Rich McNamara is promoting dairy from the acres of his farm and into his community. For the very first time, he will be hosting the Goodhue County Breakfast on the Farm June 16.

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McNamara said he looks forward to the event, especially since the urban-rural gap is widening quickly.
“This is a way to try to connect the people, to realize we take a lot of pride in the product that goes in the store,” McNamara said.
More than just dairy promotion is inspiring McNamara to open his farm to 1,500 to 1,700 guests. Nine years ago, his son Derek was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident the same day McNamara welcomed his first grandchild. McNamara said his son would want him to host the event and is driven by his memory.
McNamara began dairying on his farm in 1987 and now milks 305 Holsteins on his farm near Goodhue. He is assisted by his nephew, Michael McNamara, and hired help.
When he was approached by fellow dairy farmer Lyle Dicke a year ago, asking him to host, his immediate response was yes. McNamara said many surrounding dairy farms have hosted, and he had been thinking about it for several years before he was asked. He said he understands the importance of this type of event for the community.
“It was a good way to showcase the strength of dairy in Goodhue County and Goodhue in particular, how important an industry it is to the local economy and school,” McNamara said.
As the farm host, he has been part of the planning process alongside other members of the dairy community.
“I didn’t realize how much planning this takes,” he said. “I feel very fortunate that I just kind of have to keep getting my place ready.”
Preparations on his farm have included replacing a retaining wall and flower bed. He also expects to do basic cleaning along with planting some flowers and painting his white wood fences before the day.
He was able to put up his first-crop hay early enough that it will be done by the event; his second crop will not be ready until after the event.
McNamara houses his cows in three sand-bedded, freestall barns and milks in a double-8 herringbone parlor. He raises his calves to 400 pounds and then sends them to a heifer raiser.
Michael works with the calves and is in charge of the farm’s custom cornstalk round baling operation. Michael also has his own dairy steer calf operation with around 100 calves that he raises to 400 pounds before selling to a network of buyers.
On the day of the event, McNamara expects to get up at 3 a.m. to do some chores and work in order to be ready to host by 7 a.m. when the breakfast begins. His milking will continue on its normal schedule from 5-10 a.m. He has hired additional help for the day so he will not need to do milking that morning.
Since McNamara lives on a gravel township road and does not have much space for additional parking, guests will be shuttled to and from the event from Goodhue and Red Wing high schools.
A free breakfast will be served in his shop building that includes Ellsworth cheese curds, made by Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, where McNamara sells his milk.
“I’m kind of doing this … to showcase Ellsworth Creamery … that top quality milk goes into their cheese curds,” he said.
McNamara wants guests to feel welcome as they walk onto his farm and be surprised by the excellent care the cows receive on the dairy.
Bluff Country KCUE 1250-AM and 98.9-FM will be broadcasting live during the entirety of the event from 7-11 a.m.
Guests will be able to go on farm tours, meet Princess Kay of the Milky Way Rachel Rynda and the Goodhue County dairy royalty, play McNamara bingo, enjoy a petting zoo, milk Annabelle the cow, play games, see a farm equipment display, try out the Ag Cab Lab, participate in a name a calf contest and ride on a kids tub train.
McNamara plans to put bales down the center of his wide alleyway in the calf barn for parents to take photos of their kids sitting on them or for just sitting. He expects the calves to be popular.
Though McNamara has never hosted the Goodhue County Breakfast on the Farm before, it is not his first large event on the farm. Two years ago, he hosted a quinceañera for the niece of one of his employees. The celebration included a 12-piece band, lights and 400 guests.
McNamara has dairy farmed his entire life and never considered doing anything else. He is proud of his two daughters who have both married farmers and are teachers in their communities.
“It’s been in my blood because there’s been cows in our family for 75 years,” McNamara said.


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