You’ve probably heard it countless times, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your physical well-being. As dairy farmers, Michigan survey results indicate inviting people to an on-farm breakfast during June Dairy Month could be the most important meal for your financial well-being.

Exit surveys conducted among 2012 Michigan June Dairy Month breakfast visitors indicate 90% of them left on-farm events with positive impressions about modern dairy farming. Those surveyed also said they had an increased trust in milk as a safe food, and increased trust in farmers as a source of information about food production.

The breakfast visitors also shared their impressions with others:More than 88% of participants told others they should attend an on-farm breakfast event in the future. Only 7% said they left an event with concerns.

Their experiences translated into more dairy product purchases. Nineteen percent of visitors increased purchases of at least one of three dairy products after attending an on-farm breakfast. Some households increased purchases by one gallon of milk, 0.5 lbs. of cheese and 2.5 units of yogurt per week. The average increase for all households attending an on-farm breakfast was 0.2 gallons of milk, 0.2 lbs. of cheese and 0.33 units of yogurt per week. Extending these weekly increases to the estimated 5,653 households attending a 2012 on-farm breakfast event, the annual value totaled $404,340 in additional retail sales.

“Consumers want to know that farmers will do the right thing,” Ted Ferris, Michigan State University Department of Animal Science, and Nancy Thelen and Ashley Kuschel, MSU Extension, June Dairy Month breakfast could be your most important meal noted in summarizing the survey results.

“They greatly appreciate the opportunity that breakfast on the farm provides to tour modern farms. Since farm tours provide transparency, they build trust.

Excited about what they have learned, they return home and share their experience with family, friends and others. In addition, their improved trust or understanding in how milk is produced and handled apparently results in increases in dairy product purchases as consumers are most concerned by factors that affect them and their families directly, such as milk safety.” Find additional information about the survey at:


While you’re inviting guests to a dairy breakfast, please join me in welcoming a new member to the Dairy Herd Management editorial team.

New assistant editor Lucas Sjostrom has an extensive and evolving dairy background. He grew on his family’s 100-Holstein, 750-acre dairy farm in southern Minnesota. He now lives near Brooten, Minn., with his wife, Alise, and daughter, Lucy, where they are starting a farmstead cheese plant, Redhead Creamery, on her parents’ 200-cow dairy farm. Prior to joining Dairy Herd Management, Sjostrom worked as a government relations specialist and communications assistant with Holstein Association USA, and served as an editor with another national dairy publication.

Staying active and close to the farm and cheese plant, Sjostrom’s office will be located above the dairy’s milking parlor, with a window into the freestall barn. E-mail him at

Dave Natzke is editor of Dairy Herd Management. To contact him, e-mail