ESCANABA — Activity at the Dairy Barn at the Upper Peninsula State Fair starts long before fairgoers start to arrive. Milk Superintendent Ed McBroom starts getting the milking equipment before daybreak. He talks about the dairying process at the fair.
“There’s a lot that goes into being a dairy farmer. It’s about family probably more than anything and a way of life. Dairying is a lifestyle. It involves getting up at all hours of the night to check on a cow. Being there on a regular basis for the milking and not being late. The cows depend on you.
“It also has a lot to being at the whims of markets and being at the base point. Not having any personal impact on what’s going on with prices or things but you still have to work regardless.
“We have in the milk house a cleaning CIP system so it totally sanitizes and washes just like at home. I take the milkers out of the vat, hang them on the carts and them roll them out to the barn. Get the pipeline in here so it is set up for where the milk’s going.
“And, over in the barn, turn the machine on, hand out the milkers to everyone and here at the fair I meteor everyone’s milk so everyone gets paid based on what their production is. Also give out some prizes for the most milk produced or the highest butter fat, the most milk for one cow during the week. So, meteor everyone’s milk which is not saying it’s done on a farm on a daily basis usually but on a monthly basis.
For my kids or the other young kids here in the dairy barn, one, you hope that they get a great experience that they enjoy. The they enjoy being with the other farmers, they enjoy being with the animals, learning how to show, being in the public eye.
“I also really try to impress on everyone, my kids included, that this is our opportunity to be in the public eye, really front and center. They are coming to us to see what is going on.”