Breakfast on the farm season will soon be upon us. It is a fun time of year. For me, it means connection – the connection between hard-working farmers and people who probably don’t have a tie to a farm and want to know and see what a current dairy looks like. More than likely, it’s quite different than what they imagine.  
I have been a huge advocate of breakfast on the farm since Stearns County in Minnesota started the event in 2008. Each time I go I am amazed at the volume of people who attend and the sheer amount of work the farmers did in preparation for hosting an event of this magnitude.
With five brothers who dairy farm, I know the vast amount of chores farmers tackle daily. I also know and admire the immense talents of dairy farmers. Many take on tasks that dabble in areas covered by veterinarians, nutritionists, agronomists, mechanics and electricians, among many skills.
But because the number of farmers continues to recede, another job farmers take on is being an educator and communicator of their farm and lifestyle.
To me, the best way to do this is by opening the barn doors to host a breakfast on the farm. The number of people a farm can connect with in a six-hour span of an on-farm event is remarkable.
From visiting with and interviewing farmers who have hosted these events in the past, I have learned many of these events draw 1,000 or more people who want to see and learn the basics of a modern-day dairy farm.
Many attend because their kids have never seen a dairy animal besides in a book or on a screen. Others go because they used to have ties to the farm but do not anymore. Others want to learn and have a better understanding of where the delicious dairy products of cheese, yogurt and milk, that their family thoroughly enjoys, come from.
The breakfasts I have attended have been quite thorough in displaying the farm in an educational and fun manner. There are tours of the farm that walk attendees through or in front of buildings on the site. Also included are informational booths, farm equipment, petting areas and of course a big breakfast.
One of the biggest perks of the event is the people who come to the farm. Farmers have the opportunity to show the fruits of their hard work and continued development of their farm without having to bring visuals or printouts. The people come to the farm to learn from the farmers’ vast knowledge and experience and can visually see the layout of the farm and the care provided for all animals.
The best part about this opportunity is the host farmer doesn’t have to do it alone. Most breakfast on the farms have a committee or volunteers who help with the endeavor. They do an incredible job separating the duties and helping the farmer so the task doesn’t seem so daunting.
They help plan the event down to the smallest detail.
The tallest task for many hosts might be cleaning up the tractors for display and working on getting the yard as tidy as possible.
I know many counties host breakfast on the farms already, and I encourage people who live in a county that doesn’t host one to give it some serious consideration. If not this year, perhaps attend a couple events in your area and do the breakfast next year.
To have an opportunity to communicate and share the true story of dairy farmers is yet another current duty of dairy farmers, and it could be a way of sharing your story.