Sanborn, IA – To celebrate June Dairy Month, dairy farmers across western Iowa are inviting the public to a family-friendly event at VanEss Dairy near Sanborn. The event will include a dairy farm tour, free food and kids’ activities from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29. The farm is located at 2996 Sorrel Ave (2 miles east of Sanborn on Highway 18, then 2 miles north on Sorrel Ave/CR-L50).   The June Dairy Month Celebration is sponsored by the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance and Midwest Dairy Association.

A special guest at this year’s event will be “Viktor the Viking,” the mascot of the Minnesota Vikings football team.  Viktor will be attending to help spread the word about “Fuel Up to Play 60,” an in-school program that encourages kids to choose nutrient-rich foods first, and get out and play at least 60 minutes every day.  The program was founded by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in cooperation with the USDA.

“We’re excited to host this year’s open house to let the public see firsthand how milk is produced and where the dairy products they purchase get their start,” said Harvey VanEss, owner of VanEss Dairy.  “Our family is just one of many in western Iowa that work hard every day to care for our cows and land and produce a wholesome supply of milk for consumers.”

Guided tours will be given of VanEss Dairy, including opportunities to see where cows are milked, where they are housed and fed, and learn about the role of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet.  Following the tour, guests will enjoy a free meal of cheeseburgers and bratburgers grilled by O’Brien County Cattlemen and Sioux County Pork Producers members.  Cheese for cheeseburgers will be provided by AMPI and Blue Bunny ice cream treats will be provided by Wells Enterprises.   A children’s activity area will also be available.

“Since 98% of all dairy farms are family owned, America’s dairy farmers know something about legacy and the importance of passing on a better future to the next generation,” said VanEss.  “That’s why dairy farmers are so supportive of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program that empowers students to ‘fuel up’ with nutrient-rich foods including dairy, and ‘play 60’ minutes or more every day. We are proud to be part of this commitment because dairy farmers have always valued our most important legacy – our children.”

VanEss Dairy began production at their 3,500 cow dairy farm near Sanborn in February 2008.  The dairy is owned and operated by Harvey and Lisa VanEss, and their sons Joshua, Tyler and Todd; Jeremy and his wife, Patricia; and Chad and his wife, Kymlee. All play a role in the VanEss family’s dedication to their animals, their land, and the wholesome, quality milk they provide to their community. 

June Dairy Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the efforts of Iowa’s dairy farmers as they deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products and make a significant contribution to the state’s economy and rural communities.  Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $575 million a year.  There are about 1,790 dairy farms in the state, and about 98 percent of the state’s farms are family-owned.

Milk contains a complete package of nine essential nutrients.  In addition to being an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, it is a good source of potassium, protein and vitamin A.  Dairy’s importance in building strong bones and maintaining a healthy weight has been reaffirmed in the Surgeon General’s Report on Bone Health, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005..  All recommend eating three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt daily for optimum health.

For more information about the open house, visit or “Western Iowa Dairy Alliance” on Facebook, or contact 712-441-5308 or

Western Iowa Dairy Alliance is a non-profit organization working as an advocate for the dairy producer and all those who support this industry with commitment and integrity, allowing us to bring the very best, most nourishing products to market, every day.  For more information, visit

Midwest Dairy Association™ represents more than 11,000 dairy farm families to nearly 38 million consumers across 10 Midwestern states.  The organization is dedicated to dairy nutrition research, education, and is committed to child health and wellness through our collaborative program, Fuel Up to Play 60.