Thumb became home to its first Breakfast on the Farm

Over 1,100 people from 66 towns came to Breakfast on the Farm at Huron County’s S&M Dairy near Harbor Beach

All but a few big rain drops held off until after the Breakfast on the Farm event was over at S & M Dairy near Harbor Beach, Mich., on Saturday, August 20, 2011. And then it poured. But before the big rain, 1,100 people poured into S & M Dairy from over 66 towns representing many areas of Michigan and places as far away as Florida and California. They enjoyed pancakes, sausage, juice and milk before taking the tour of their modern dairy farm. 

Attendees were able to take a self-guided tour of all aspects of the farm. At S & M Dairy, the maternity pen station was by far the highlight as many were able to witness a heifer calf being born! Several stations demonstrated what is done for cow comfort and care, including cow housing, hoof trimming, and animal health. Participants could see how cows are milked and learned facts about the cows at S & M Dairy when they viewed a video of the milking parlor. The calf station was a big hit among those who wanted to interact with the calves. S & M Dairy utilizes crossbreeding, and there were individuals available to explain how they are integrating a three breed rotation between Montebeliarde, Swedish Red, and Holstein breeds. Other stations included feed ingredients, nutrient management and an up-close look at tractors and equipment. Many were surprised to learn that a 1,400 pound cow will drink 40 gallons of water, eat 100 pounds of food and produce over 8 gallons of milk each day. Compared to 60 years ago in the U.S., there are 16 million fewer cows that produce 1.6 times more milk. There was a commodity tent where participants could gain more information about beef, soybeans, corn and more. The local EMS had an ambulance on-site and kids could view the inside. Ice cream sandwiches were also a favorite among visitors.

Kids were able to complete a quiz throughout the different educational stations and turn it in at the end for a bag full of prizes. They also got the chance to see what it’s like to milk a cow and could place their fingers in a working milking claw or milk the wooden cow Earline. Surveys that were given to adults indicated that they were amazed to learn about all of the work that farmers do. 

The event would not have been possible without the help of many volunteers who worked, planned, set-up, cleaned-up, donated and spread the word about the event. In total, over 150 volunteers were present to assist with the tour and educational stations at the farm.

We are most grateful to our sponsors because without them, this event would not have been possible. There were over 56 local sponsors ( ) and ten state sponsors ( Breakfast on the Farm is a statewide Michigan State University (MSU) Extension program. Six farms throughout Michigan have already hosted one in 2011 and there are two more events remaining. To learn more visit

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