Rain, thunder and storm clouds couldn’t scare off the eclipse and the more than 1,200 people who attended a viewing party at a Missouri dairy.
People from across the U.S. flocked to Shatto Milk Company near Osborn, Mo. to capture a view of the eclipse along the path of totality. The event even attracted international visitors from Denmark and Australia.
“We were super excited to open our farm up to people,” says Matt Shatto, vice president for the business founded by his parents.
Shatto Milk Company sold out tickets for the Solar Eclipse on the Farm within a few hours of announcing the event for the 350 parking spots that were made available. The majority of people in attendance were families with children.
“Between thunderstorms we had the opportunity to see a great show with the eclipse at totality. It was everything we could have asked for,” Matt says.
During the total eclipse the sky darkened and the solar corona was visible, at this moment the crowd of spectators let out a roar of cheers and applause. Barn swallows stopped flying during totality and there was what looked like a 360 degree sunset-sunrise present during the middle of the day. When sunlight started to peak back out the barn swallows began flying again and the crowd started packing up for their drive home.
This isn’t Shatto Milk Company’s first time hosting a large event, each fall the dairy has a free visitation called Family Day at the Farm. It attracts about 8,000 people who get the opportunity to see where their milk comes from up close and personal.
During the eclipse party there weren’t any formal farm tours given arounds the freestall barns because rain had muddied some areas, but Leroy Shatto still showed a few people around the parlor.
“It isn’t quite as big as the Family Day, but that is a good thing because it can get overwhelming with that many people,” Leroy says. Leroy runs the dairy with his wife, Barbara. The farm was started by Barbara’s ancestors three generations ago in the late-1800s and has grown to a 300 cow dairy with on-farm bottling.
A lot of planning went into the event ahead of time. Despite the preparation cows still need to be milked, cattle have to be fed and milk has to be processed during the eclipse. “Some things you’ve just to do,” Leroy says.
Shatto Milk Company did hold-off on doing the typical Monday milk deliver to grocery stores in the Kansas City metro. Delivers will be made on Tuesday instead.
A number of people purchased a specialty “Eclipse” black colored milk that was bottled on the dairy. The double dose of cookies with cream flavored milk is believed to be the first black colored milk in the U.S.
Eclipse milk was a hit with 6,500 bottles being sold at retail stores off the farm. Extra bottles were sold through the on-farm store after another run of milk was processed this weekend.
The Shatto’s weren’t the only agriculture business locally impacted by the eclipse. Along the drive up to the eclipse viewing a number of farm entrances and local businesses were blocked off to prevent unwanted visitors. There was an added police presence with more local law enforcement and highway patrol officers on the road.
The nearby town of Plattsburg, Mo. was selling parking and viewing spots for $25. Traffic leaving the eclipse viewing was slow with the drive time typically taking one hour, it stretched out to nearly three hours with the added vehicles.
In spite of the travel woes people who viewed the eclipse made once in a lifetime memories seeing an eclipse cross the entire country for the first time in 99 years.
“This was a great opportunity to show off our dairy operation and engage with people at a terrific event,” Matt says.
Other dairies in the U.S. can start planning ahead for the next eclipse that will happen on Monday, April 8, 2024. In seven years the path of totality will start in Mexico cross into Texas and follow an eclipse path into Maine and onto Canada.
Read more of our eclipse coverage here: