Dutch Square Farm to host Dairy Night June 16

PRESTON, Minn. - Dutch Square Farm LLC will host the annual Fillmore County ADA Dairy Night on the Farm.

PRESTON, Minn. - Dutch Square Farm LLC will host the annual Fillmore County ADA Dairy Night on the Farm.

Brian and Annie Erickson and their children Cody and Daysha, Dean and Sharon Wissing and Chris and Whitney Tewes will host the June 16 event at their rural Preston farmstead. Dairy Night runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Dutch Square Farm is truly a family farm. Dean's great-grandfather Gerhardt homesteaded the Preston area farm in 1870. Now, the fourth, fifth and sixth generations work together on the farm.

Dean and son-in-law Chris do the milking. Brian does the field work, machinery care and takes care of the farm's hogs. He is a relief milker and also operates a custom chopping business with assistance from Annie. Annie mixes the feed for the farm's 80-cow herd, makes meals and is a

relief milker. Whitney does calf chores and is a relief milker. Sharon makes meals. Cody, 16, is also a relief milker and helps in the field. Daysha, 11, doesn't have set chores, but she is a Fillmore County Dairy Ambassador.


The family's involvement with the Fillmore County American Dairy Association is one reason they are hosting Dairy Night, which has been an evening event in the county since 2005. Brian is president of the ADA and this is his last year on the board. He and Annie serve on the board as a


Another reason is a feeling that all dairy farmers should take their turn hosting the event, Dean said.

"We were asked numerous times to take our turn at it," Annie said.

The board wants to show different types and different sizes of dairy operations, Brian said.

They have a tie-stall barn with a pipeline, carrying units cow-to-cow. It takes two people about an hour and a half to milk. They will be milking during Dairy Night. Visitors will be able to observe from a distance, with volunteers from their nutrition company, Benson Feed in Lewiston, doing crowd control in the dairy barn.

Cows are milked twice a day at Dutch Square Farm. They have had a closed herd for a number of years. In addition to raising their own replacement heifers, they also finish out their steers.

They are putting the finishing touches on plans for the evening, but for sure there will be two bouncy houses on the lawn and a meal served in the shed with seating in a nearby tent. A free-will donation is accepted for the meal of hamburgers with cheese slices, potato salad, baked beans and milk. There will also be cheese curds and shakes. Attendance varies from 750 to 850, Brian said.


The Fillmore County Cattlemen prepare the burgers on their large grill. Fillmore County 4-H members help out and the county's 10 dairy ambassadors and three dairy princesses will be put to work. Also, the six other couples who serve on the ADA board will be helping where needed. Brian and Whitney's sisters, Melissa Sikkink and Amy Walterman, will come home to help.

SEMA Equipment will have equipment on display and there will be a petting zoo with a calf, lamb and maybe more. The ideas just keep coming, Annie said.

The ADA hopes to break even on Dairy Night. It obtains sponsorships from boosters to help fund Dairy Night and other activities throughout the year. Boosters come in at pint, quart, gallon and bulk tank levels. Pint boosters contribute $25 to $99; quart from $100 to $149; gallon from $150 to $499 and bulk tank boosters contribute $500 or more. The ADA also owns its own malt stand and earns income from it.

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