About 800 people turned out for the recent annual open house at MoDak Dairy, Goodwin, S.D.,
MoDak Dairy milks more than 2,000 cows three times a day and farms 3,000 acres, with much of their land devoted to producing feed for the cows.
Greg, Jim, Jacob and Matt Moes and their families own the dairy. Members of more than 40 families work at the dairy. The farm was originally homesteaded by the Moes family in 1894.
The open house has attracted big crowds since it was first held 10 years ago. The dairy offers wagon tours of the barn and feed center. Visitors can walk into the end of the parlor and see where 60 cows are milked at one time. With donations from Valley Queen Cheese Factory, Midwest Dairy, South Dakota Dairy Producers, Ag United for South Dakota and other organizations, they provide visitors lots of free food —grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream, cheese sticks, milk and more.
Jim Moes talked about why they go to all the work of holding an open house.
“Planting is all done,” he said, and laughed, “and we don’t have anything else to do.”
Of course, there’s always plenty of work that needs to be done. Beside milking cows, MoDak Dairy also raises their replacement heifers, finishes their steers and grows all the feed for the animals.
The open house is one way the family and the employees advocate for dairy, according to Greg Moes.
It helps promote dairy products and, hopefully, creates some goodwill in the community.
The open house is good for their own morale, too, he says. Seeing hundreds of people enjoying themselves and eating dairy products, reminds them that there are a lot of people in their community who support dairy farmers.