June Dairy Month kicks off every summer in Wisconsin, with events like Saturday's La Crosse County Dairy Breakfast offering a first-hand experience on a family farm.
You may not think about it while grocery shopping, but many of the dairy products you see on the shelves did not travel very far to get there. It's thanks to the hard work of farmers that Wisconsin gets its reputation as the Dairy State.
With 96% of Wisconsin dairy farms owned by families, events like the Dairy Breakfast help people understand the effort our neighbors put into the food we eat every day.
Creamery Creek Holsteins milks their 675 cows three times a day, "our milk goes to Grassland Dairy Products in Greenwood, WI and they exclusively process into butter," Louisa Peterson, Co-Owner of Creamery Creek Holsteins, explains.
The Dairy Breakfast is an event Peterson looks forward to even if they aren't hosting.
"There are so many folks who have never had a chance to be on a farm and this is their opportunity to come to a farm, talk to a farmer, experience what goes on here on a first-hand basis, because there's no substitute for the first-hand experience," Peterson elaborates.
First-hand farm experience is so important to Creamery Creek, they hold regular tours of the farm to educate the public.
"If you go to a farm and you can see how it's produced and you have confidence in that farmer and the food chain, that just helps put it all together," Peterson describes.
With an industry as vital to the state as farming, it is important to have confidence in area farmers.
"Agriculture, overall, is about an $88 billion part of the state's economy," Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues, "dairy alone is almost $43.5 billion and employs about 79,000 people in the state of Wisconsin," Walker elaborates.
Governor Walker spent time at the dairy breakfast on Saturday morning to stress the importance of those first-hand farming experiences.
"It really gives a lot of families, who are obviously consumers for their kids and their families as a whole, an opportunity to see where it comes from, why the dairy industry is important and what all it takes, it's a lot harder than some people think," Walker finishes.
With milk prices at historic lows, Peterson says creating a link of understanding between farmer and consumer can go a long way.
"When you create those relationships and friendships, I think you can build more confidence and demand in products and further your business down the road," Peterson continues to say creating that link is a major goal for the breakfast and of their entire business.
The next Dairy Breakfast in the area will be the Juneau County Dairy Breakfast in Elroy, Wisconsin on June 24.