The COVID-19 pandemic has canceled many Dairy Month events in the tri-state area.
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Kids get to know the dairy cows and their smell at the Royalwood Dairy near Brandon, S.D. Tri-State Neighbor photo by Janelle Atyeo

Every year, dozens of dairies in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa hold open houses to celebrate Dairy Month in June. This year, however, celebrations will be held at an arm’s distance.

Staples such as South Dakota State University’s Dairy Fest and the Northwest Iowa Dairy Alliance’s dairy open house have both been canceled.

South Dakota’s Ag United, which traditionally hosts Breakfast on the Farm in Brandon, has decided to cancel events and instead use the month to work with three dairies and spread the word about the work dairy farmers do. MoDak Dairy in Goodwin, Royalwood Dairy in Brandon and Van Winke Dairy in Canistota want to promote dairy farming and dairy products in their local areas, Ag United executive director Steve Dick said, and Ag United will help them do it.

“A lot of things changed in March and April, but for dairy families, they’re still out there taking care of cows and their families,” he said.

Ag United is working on ways to connect with farmers and consumers. It’s pushing some farms to use social media in a way they hadn’t before.

“This would look a whole lot different 1970s than now,” Dick said.

While the agriculture industry suffers from big loses, Dick believes people will come out of isolation with a greater appreciation for the entire food system.

Regional small, organic dairy farm industry had been rocked by Horizon Organic nonrenewal.

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