Dairy tour promotes milk awareness
Tuesday, Jul 02, 2013 06:00 am
Three hundred and fifty people, including many youngsters, have attended an open house at the Huntcliff Dairy southeast of Olds.
Dairy owner Martein Huyzer said the first-ever public tour day at the facility was all about showing people, and young people in particular, where their milk comes from.
“We want to show people how we make our safe product,” said Huyzer. “Some kids are generations removed from the farm nowadays. They might still have a grandfather or great-grandfather who lives or lived on the farm, so this is a way to show them what life is like on the farm.”
About 50 volunteers conducted tours and visited with guests on June 22.
The tours included up-close looks at the barns, calf nursery, and the milking sheds – there was even a milking machine game where visitors could test their milking skills against the professionals.
The open house was co-sponsored by the Huntcliff Dairy, the Southern Alberta Holstein Club, the East of Olds Dairy Farmers Group, and Alberta Milk.
The Huntcliff Dairy is home to 100 Holstein and Jersey cows, who produce about 3,000 litres of milk each and every day.
“We milk the cows at 5 o’clock in the morning and 5 o’clock in the evening, every day of the year, including on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,” he said.
The end product is shipped to Calgary every two days for processing.
The dairy includes 600 acres of land where grain, hay and alfalfa are grown to feed the animals. The cows are all born and raised on the farm.
The Huyzer family emigrated from Holland in 2001 and started the dairy in 2002.
“We were dairy farmers there and I still have three brothers who milk cows over there,” he said. “The amount of cows is about the same there, but the land base is much bigger here.”
Tietsia Huyzer, Martein’s wife, says milk remains an important part of West Central Alberta’s economy, benefiting customers far and wide.
“I am glad so many people show up and they are so excited,” she said. “We like to show their children and their families what happens on a dairy farm. We are happy to open things up for people to see what happens in the big barns they can only see from the road.
“It’s a healthy and safe product that we are producing. There are important standards that dairies follow to make sure we produce a safe product,” she said.
During the school year agriculture students from Olds College tour the facility as part of their learning experience.
Martein explained that the farm’s name was taken from the pioneer schoolhouse that used to operate just across the road until the 1960s.
And as the recent open house at the Huntcliff Dairy showed, rural farm life tradition is alive and well in Mountain View County.