In honor of June Dairy Month, 122 Minnesota dairy farms are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average SCC of under 100,000 cells per milliliter.
The MDA has recognized top dairy herds in the state. Otter Tail, Todd, Stearns, Douglas and Swift Counties have all been recognized for being top dairy producers. They are ranked on amounts of somatic cell counts in the milk, the lower the count the better it is for shelf life and to make cheese.
“Minnesota’s farmers have faced so many challenges the past several years — low prices, lost markets, and most recently the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — so it’s my honor to be able to award these 122 dairies for their high level of excellence and resilience,” says Tom Petersen, MDA commissioner. “These dairy farm families work hard day-in and day-out to produce high quality, wholesome dairy products for all of us to enjoy.”
Although SCCs 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.
Here is a list of the top farms in the state! Congrats to Suzanne Jacobs from Otter Tail county for having the best SCC counts in the state!