By SHELLY STRAUTZ-SPRINGBORN
STANTON, Mich. — A third-generation family dairy farm in Montcalm County is opening its doors to the public on Sept. 7 to give non-farmers a chance to see what modern food production is all about.
Black Locust Farms LLC, owned by Jack and Tom Jeppesen and their families, will host Breakfast on the Farm Sept. 7, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast will be served from 9 a.m.-noon at the farm, located at 5644 N. Derby Road in Stanton.
“We are really looking forward to sharing what we do with our community,” Jack said. “We want to educate people that we care for our animals and for the land, that we live and breathe our occupation.
“This event is not to showcase our farm, it’s to showcase agriculture in general,” Tom added. “It’s not just about producing food – it’s about animal husbandry and being good stewards of the land.”
A day full of fun and learning is in store for visitors. Consumers will enjoy a pancake breakfast featuring Michigan-made products and be able to take self-guided tours to get a look at how this modern dairy farm operates. Admission is free, but a ticket is required for breakfast.
Tours will include educational exhibits, where volunteers will be available to answer questions. Children will enjoy interacting with dairy calves, seeing an ultrasound performed on a pregnant cow and learning how the large equipment they’ll see comes in handy for growing and harvesting corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and alfalfa on the family’s 900 acres.
Conservation is a priority for Black Locust Farms LLC, and the Jeppesens are eager to share their story with visitors. “I love being outside and working the ground,” Jack said. “We pride ourselves on keeping up-to-date with the most modern practices. We love what we do.”
The brothers have operated the dairy farm for most of their lives and milk 180 cows twice daily. In addition to caring for their herd, they grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat and sudan grass with the help of their employees.
Through the years, the Jeppesens have expanded their dairy herd, acquired more acres of farmland, added and upgraded buildings and installed irrigation. They are certified by the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) for their pollution prevention practices and work to comply with state and federal environmental regulations.
The Jeppesens are members of the Michigan Milk Producers Assoc. (MMPA) and Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB). Tom and his wife, Pam, have three children with spouses, Jared and Jessica, Zach and Gloria and Nicole and Warner, and five grandchildren – Austin, Adam, Nora, Ella and Anna.
Jack and his wife, Kellie, have five children, Melanie, Kaleigh and husband Jared, Brent, Brian and Kyle, and two grandchildren, Teegan and Henry.
Tickets are available at these businesses: Seals, Tacia, Bartz Optometrists in Alma and Mt. Pleasant; Alvah N. Library and Chemical Bank in Belding; Big Rapids Community Library; King’s Trading Post in Blanchard and Mecosta; Chemical Bank, Harvey’s Milling and Seals, Tacia, Bartz Optometrists in Carson City;
Vanderhyde Ford in Cedar Springs; Candle Cottage and Chemical Bank in Crystal; Chemical Bank and Home Township Library in Edmore; Bader & Sons in Grand Ledge, St. Louis and Portland; Chemical Bank, Flat River Community Library, Petersen Oil and Tractor Supply Co. in Greenville; Reynolds Township Library in Howard City; Ionia Community Library, the extension office and Wolbers & Possehn in Ionia; Chemical Bank, Lakeview Animal Clinic, Lakeview Elevator, Leppink’s and Tamarack District Library in Lakeview; Walton Erickson Public Library in Morley; Wheatland Township Library in Remus;
Krause Memorial Library in Rockford; Chemical Bank and the Village of Sheridan Offices in Sheridan; Sidney State Bank; Sparta Township Carnegie Library and Sparta Animal Clinic in Sparta; and Anderson & Girls Orchard, Chemical Bank, Leppink’s, the extension office and White Pine Library in Stanton.
Breakfast on the Farm is a Michigan State University extension program. More than 175 local volunteers help organize each event. This year’s final Breakfast on the Farm will be Sept. 21 at Ferry Farms LLC, Litchfield in Hillsdale County.
The statewide sponsors for 2013 are Corn Marketing Program of Michigan and Michigan Corn Growers Assoc., Dairyland Seed Co., Inc., GreenStone Farm Credit Services, MFB, Farm Bureau Insurance, Michigan Ag Council, MMPA, Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee, Michigan Wheat Program, Northrop Trucking, Inc., Pioneer and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
In addition, the event at Black Locust Farms received generous support from more than 50 local sponsors. To find out more, to learn how to apply to be a host farm or to see pictures from past events, visit www.breakfastonthefarm.com
Questions can be directed to Nancy Thelen at 734-222-3825 or firstname.lastname@example.org or to Ashley Kuschel at 586-337-4985.