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Gar-Lin Dairy Farms

EYOTA, Minn. -- Gar-Lin Dairy Farm is known to welcome the community to the country.

For several years, they hosted an Ag Night on the farm and more recently opened the farm to the community during Eyota Days. Also this year, Gar-Lin Dairy Farm is the site of the Rochesterfest Country Breakfast on the Farm. The 25th annual event is June 23.

This will be the second time Gar-Lin Dairy Farm has hosted the popular Rochesterfest event. Back in 1994, more than 3,000 people visited the farm. Attendance for Breakfast on the Farm has ranged between 2,000 and 4,000 over the past 20 years.

Breakfast begins at 6:30 a.m. at the farm. Buses will run from Willow Creek Middle School to the farm beginning at 6:30 a.m. The bus ride is free provided at least one member of a family or group going to the farm is wearing a Rochesterfest button. The last bus leaves for the farm at 10:45 a.m. The breakfast ends at 11:30 a.m.

Chris Cakes of Rolfe, Iowa, prepares the breakfast of pancakes, sausage, milk, juice, cheese and coffee. Cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Children 4 and younger are free. Breakfast tickets can be purchased at the farm or in advance at the Rochesterfest Information Booth downtown during the summer festival, June 18-22.

Gar-Lin Dairy Farm is a multi-generation farm owned by Gary and Linda Allen and their children, Dean Allen and Dana Allen-Tully.

Gary sets the farm's general direction. He does the milk marketing and works on the budget and financing. Linda also works with the farm's finances. In addition, she does landscaping and runs errands. Dean works with the sand separator, crops and manages all the people who work outdoors, including the employees who put up feed and feed the cattle. Dean is also the farm's main maintenance man.

"He's the guy to call when it doesn't work," Dana said.

Dana manages the farm's dairy operation and the dairy employees. She manages young stock care and herd nutrition.

The dairy operation has 32 full-time employees and 14 part-time employees.

The dairy consists of 1,650 cows. The cows are mostly Holsteins, but there are a few crossbreds. Crosses include Swedish Red, Montbeliarde, Jersey and Brown Swiss.

The cows are milked three times a day in a 50-cow carousel parlor. The parlor is used 21 hours a day. Four people do the milking with a fifth kept busy moving cows from the barn to the holding pen to the parlor. The people doing the milking stand in the same place as the cows rotate around them. It takes 10.5 to 11 minutes for the carousel to make a full revolution; 240 cows can be milked in an hour.

Gar-Lin Dairy has a rolling herd average of 30,370 pounds of milk, 1,229 pounds of fat and 915 pounds of protein.

Milk is loaded directly onto three 6,000 gallon tankers and marketed through Land O'Lakes. They sell about 17,500 gallons of milk per day.

Cows are housed in sand bedded free-stall barns. The sand bedding is clean and comfortable for the cows. The sand is tough on equipment, though, keeping Dean busy maintaining the sand separator.

In addition to the dairy, the family runs 3,100 acres of crop ground where they raise feed for the cattle and also sweet peas. Their crop rotation includes corn, alfalfa, rye and peas. Manure is applied to the field after the peas are harvested and alfalfa is planted in August. This allows for harvest of the first crop of hay the following May.

Family members plan to spend some time at the Rochesterfest Country Breakfast on the Farm booth at the Agri News Farm Show.

Country Breakfast on the Farm is sponsored by the Rochester Area Ag Committee and the Olmsted County Farm Bureau Federation. The event is financed through donations and breakfasts sold. Sponsors are also appreciated and should contact event co-chair Ken Levos at 507-529-2093.

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