Alto-area dairy farmer Annie Link earned this year's Excellence in Dairy Promotion Award at the 12th annual Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Sponsored annually by UDIM, the award recognizes outstanding Michigan dairy farm family members for their dedication to promoting dairy products. Recipients excel at dairy promotion and dedicate long hours of volunteer service to both the dairy industry and their local communities.
An active member of the Kent County Farm Bureau, Link is the calf manager and event organizer for SwissLane Farms, her family's fourth generation dairy operation, where she says she is "committed to cows, community and environment."
Link is passionate about educating people about agriculture and connecting them with their food. She promotes dairy personally at a wide range of local events and community festivals, as well as SwissLane Farms' own Neighbor Nights and Dairy Discovery tours. A savvy user of social media, her online presence illustrates dairy in words and photos to boost consumer confidence and raise awareness of on-farm practices and dairy-related issues.
Link is active in her community as an agri-business person, through her children's schools, Sunday school, vacation Bible school and world relief activities through her church. She and her husband Jerry are the parents of three dairy-raised children.
UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan, both non-profit organizations that provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.
Geert & Gertie van den Goor — MSU Dairy Farm of the Year
Marlette-area dairy farmers Geert and Gertie van den Goor were named Michigan State University's Dairy Farmers of the Year at the recent Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference. Members of the Sanilac County Farm Bureau, the pair started Goma Dairy Farm in 1999 after moving to Michigan from the Netherlands. The dairy currently has a milking herd of 2,800 Holsteins with an average annual per-cow production of 27,621 pounds of milk.
Goma Dairy is verified in the farmstead and livestock systems of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), and they participate in the National Dairy FARM Program for animal care.
In 2012 they opened their farm to more than 2,500 community members by hosting a Breakfast on the Farm event, welcoming visitors to tour the milking parlor, learn about the calving system, and explore the everyday operations of a modern dairy farm.