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Top Minnesota dairy farms honored

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Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen released the annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower SCC is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life for bottled milk. There were 115 dairy farms recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average SCC of under 100,000.

“Minnesota’s dairy industry has been struggling with low milk prices for a number of years, so it’s important to recognize these farmers who have worked hard to manage their herds,” said Commissioner Petersen. “Achieving low somatic cell count doesn’t happen overnight, and I’m pleased to award these farms for their high level of excellence.”

Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because they can be used as a measure of the health of their cows. Processors also pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive a significantly higher price per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.

For more than 15 years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and University of Minnesota dairy experts have worked with the state’s dairy farmers to lower somatic cell counts. 

Todd County farmers include: Roger and Laura Primus, Osakis Creamery Association; Peter Hendrickson, Nelson Creamery Association; Keith Middendorf, First District Association; Edward Kauffman, Nelson Creamery Association; Paul and Bonnie Middendorf, Nelson Creamery Association; Tim Broder, Pro-Ag Farmers’ Cooperative; and Daniel Miller, Nelson Creamery Association.

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