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Illinois dairy opens farm to educate urban public
Illinois Correspondent

HAMPSHIRE, Ill. — Dale and Linda Drendel are opening their Hampshire farmstead to the general public for a Dairy Breakfast and Farm Tour on Saturday, June 17 from 6-11 a.m.

“Families will have this unique opportunity to experience life on a dairy farm,” said Dale Drendel. “We’re looking forward to hosting the Dairy Breakfast and Farm Tour.”

One of the highlights of the farm visit is viewing some of the 150 Holstein dairy cows being milked in the Drendel milking parlor. The modern parlor accommodates 11 cows at a time and offers viewers an up close look at the farm’s automation and the transfer of milk from the cow to the holding tank. Milking demonstrations will occur from 6-7:30 a.m.

The farm visit also offers a tour of the barns to see the young dairy calves and the cows. Those who have never milked a cow before will have the opportunity to milk a cow by hand. Visitors will see firsthand the feed used in their special diets, and the care taken by farmers to assure their animals are comfortable and healthy.

“Our goal is to provide people with a better understanding and awareness of the origins of their food, such as dairy products,” said Dale Drendel. “We also hope to expand their knowledge of agriculture and develop an appreciation for our lifestyle.”

Farm equipment used on the dairy farm will be on display that morning. Visitors will have a chance to sit on a modern tractor and learn more about farm implements.

Assisting the Drendels, area farmers will be present to provide information about various aspects of farming and agricultural products in a special exhibit area.

“We have a tremendous amount of support from our farm community, agribusinesses and commodity organizations,” Drendel said.

Then, to top off the morning a hearty farm-style breakfast will be served including pancakes, sausage, apple sauce, cheese, milk, coffee and ice cream, from 6-11 a.m. Additionally, there will be plenty of farm photo opportunities, along with promotional materials and door prizes.

A donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children (6-12 years) will be collected at the farm. The price includes all aspects of the farm visit. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

The Dairy Breakfast and Farm Tour is being sponsored by local dairymen from DeKalb and Kane counties who are members of the Kishwaukee Dairy Herd Improvement Assoc. (DHIA).

This is the first organized dairy farm visit planned by the association and local dairymen. Bill Lenschow, Sycamore dairyman and chairman of the event, said the group is looking forward to showcasing agriculture.

“It’s a good opportunity to see agriculture at its best,” he explained. “As farmers, we recognize the public relations value in reaching out to our new neighbors who share the countryside with us, along with our urban friends.”

The Drendels are avid promoters of the dairy industry whether it’s welcoming visitors to their farm, showing their cattle at fairs or serving in leadership roles in dairy organizations. Dale serves on the Kishwaukee DHIA Board and Illinois State Holstein Board and also is a member of the board of directors of Dairy Labs Services. Linda, a teacher at Rosary High School in Aurora, is continually educating others about agriculture.

Their daughters, Carrie and Julie, were former dairy ambassadors and their son, Jeff, works on the family farm.

For the past 32 years the Drendels have been dairying in rural Hampshire. They also farm 650 acres consisting of corn, alfalfa, oats and wheat in partnership with Dale’s parents George and Marcella Drendel.

The Drendel Dairy Farm is located two miles northwest of Hampshire. From north of Sycamore on Illinois 23, travel east on Plank Road for seven miles until reaching Burlington. Turn left, going north, on Walker Road for three miles. The drive from Sycamore to the Drendel farm is about 15 minutes.

From Genoa, go east on Illinois 72 for 6.5 miles and turn right on Walker Road, going south for one-half mile. It takes about 8 minutes to get there from Genoa. Watch for road signs.

This farm news was published in the May 31, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.