400 Years of Dairy Farming in America


Cadence Spearman is a senior at Triton High School. She is a "Cow Girl" from the word go! She was raised on a farm with experiences in everything but the dairy farming aspect, but 5 years ago, she decided to learn more about cows, and she hasn't looked back. She lives on the Herrick Farm, which was started from scratch by her grandfather, Roger Herrick, so I guess you could say she has agricultural interest in her blood!

For her senior project this year, she chose to manage and host a statewide dairy show to commemorate the 400th year of dairy cows crossing the ocean, from Devonshire, England to the Plymouth Colony in America in 1624, to begin a herd for the pilgrims. Two cows and a bull were brought over to begin the herd. All Triton graduates are required to do a project that gives them practical experience in a career field that they are interested in pursuing after high school. Cadence came up with the idea because she loves everything "cows". She loves owning cows, showing cows, and has a passion unusual for a girl so young for Future Farmers of America, or FFA for short. She plans to attend South Dakota State University next year and major in Agri-Business. Some of her interests in this field are dirt work, which includes laying drain tiles in fields, sales of feed, seed and chemicals to grow everything farmers need to succeed, and Ag Communications where she would network with the producers of feed, seed and chemicals, and the farmers, as an agronomist.

Minnesota is one of our country's leaders in the dairy industry, being the 7th largest dairy production state, with 460,000 cows producing 10.4 billion pounds of milk in 2022 alone! FFA is an intra-curricular student organization for those interested in agriculture, food and natural resource industries, and career pathways. It is one of the 3 components of agricultural education. Obviously, this is a very important career path for our young people, and one we should all support in whatever way we can. After all, the youth of today are our leaders tomorrow!

Since June is Dairy Month, Cadence decided to put together a celebration to honor the 400th year of the dairy cows arriving on our shores. She is calling it the Quadricentennial Party Til The Cows Come Home event. It will be held at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in Kasson on June 6th and 7th, 2024. It will be a contest for all FFA members grades 7 to 12 to showcase their talents and showmanship when it comes to the cows. Registration for the event opened January 1st and closes May 1st. No late registrations will be accepted. A project of this scope is expensive to put on, and since it is a non profit event, all proceeds from the fundraising Burger bash and all donations received to help finance the event will go to the rent of the fairgrounds, buying the food for the Burger Bash, electricity to run the event, ribbons for placing in the contests, and reserving a block of rooms at the Baymont by Windham in Kasson for out of town participants. Cadence has estimated the cost to pull it all together at $17,000.00. Any money left over will be given as scholarships to the kids participating.

So, how can you help? First of all, it is open to the public. The Burger Bash is one of the fundraisers, so be sure to come on down and let the FFA members cook you up a great meal. This will happen on Thursday, June 6th from 4 to 7 pm at the fairgrounds. They will be serving hamburgers, cowboy beans, cold salads and of course, milk. The other fundraiser is 3 days of Bingo at the Dodge Country Club, the last on being on March 9th. It is a public event, with the proceeds going to help with the funds needed to pull off this show.

On June 6th you will see both the Showmanship contest and the Fitting contest. June 7th is the Holstein Show, the Colored Breeds Show and the Supreme Drive. To register for the contests, go to the website at tinyurl.com/Dodgecountydairyshow. For more information, you can email Cadence at cadencespearman@gmail.com, or Robert Ickler at rickler@triton.k12.mn.us, or Tyffanie Heublein at theublein@triton.k12.mn.us.

Now, back to the donations...... any monies contributed to this special event are tax deductible, and of course for a great cause. There are different levels of sponsorship, and all sponsors will be providing a once in a lifetime opportunity for dairy enthusiasts to celebrate our state's dairy industry. All donors will be recognized at the awards ceremony on June 6th at 7:30 pm. Each donor will receive 2 complimentary meals at the Burger Bash, and a letter of thanks will be published in the Dodge Center Messenger after the event to thank all who saw fit to enable this project to come alive.

Cadence would like to thank everyone who is instrumental in helping her to accomplish this project, and looks forward to seeing you all at the show! Let's Party Til The Cows Come Home!!!