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Northern Illinois dairies welcome public to farm
By DEBORAH BEHRENDS
Illinois Correspondent

HAMPSHIRE, Ill. — Breakfast, farm equipment, facts about farming, a chance to see dairy cattle up close and even the opportunity milk a cow were made a available on Saturday, June 17 by Kane County dairy farmers Dale and Linda Drendel.

The event offered visitors a a tour of the barns to see the young calves and cows. One calf was just a day old; another cow was due to calf the following day.

Visitors who arrived early enough also saw some of the Drendels’ 155 milking Holsteins being milked in the parlor. The modern parlor accommodates 11 cows at one time and offered viewers a close look at the farm’s automation and the transfer of milk from the cow to the holding tank.

Linda Drendel said along with the milking herd, they have 25-30 cows near calving and another 150-170 young heifers.

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

Farm equipment was on display, offering visitors a chance to sit on a modern tractor and learn more about the implements. The breakfast and farm tour were sponsored by local dairymen from the DeKalb and Kane counties who are members of the Kishwaukee Dairy Herd Improvement Assoc.

A number of area farmers were on hand to present information about various aspects of farming and agriculture products in a special exhibit area.

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

The Drendels have farmed in the rural Hampshire for 32 years. They also farm 650 acres of corn, alfalfa, oats and wheat in partnership with Dale’s parents, George and Macella Drendel. As with most family farms, the youngest generation is involved, as well.

Daughters Carrie and Julie have served as dairy ambassadors and son Jeff works on the family farm.

Along with possible photos, a hearty breakfast and some memories of a farm tour, visitors went away with goodie bags stuffed full of information about dairy farming, the benefits of consuming three dairy products a day and a gift card for an ice cream cone from Oberweis Dairy.

This farm news was published in the June 28, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

6/28/2006