Edgewood celebrates June dairy month with open house
June 29, 2016
The dairy industry is a vital part of the American economy, providing 21 billion gallons of milk annually.
Edgewood Dairy is actively involved in promoting Missouri’s role in this industry. They have hosted several farmers, FFA students, and politicians including Governor Jay Nixon, Jason Kander, and Claire McCaskill, and given farm tours to ensure proper funding is made available to dairy farmers. The Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act was even signed here.
Edgewood Dairy supports National Dairy Month with Farm Days at their dairy. The creamery is open to browse fresh dairy items, there is live music, farm tours given by Charles Fletcher and a concession stand with fried cheese curds and grilled cheese sandwiches. This is a fun filled event hosted by the Fletcher family.
Edgewood Dairy and creamery, owned by Charles and Melissa Fletcher, provides high quality dairy products including hand crafted cheese made with milk by their own grass fed cows.
In 1997, Charles Fletcher attended a grazing class and came home with polymer wire and a plan. Ever since, the Fletchers have used a rotational grazing system which allows cattle to move to fresh five acre paddocks every 12 hours. This allows the grass to replenish and the cows produce a rich, high quality milk. Their dairy business began to flourish and they went from 140 dairy cows to 320 grazing on fescue in the morning and alfalfa at night. They began crossbreeding Holsteins with Jersey, Swedish Red, and Friesian because the smaller animal is more suitable for the rotational grazing.
The Fletchers also built the creamery where you can watch cheese being made and buy a variety of dairy products, jams and jellies and fresh bread. The Fletchers enjoy taking care of their animals, helping their neighbors and providing healthy dairy products for the industry. Charles Fletcher said, “Everything we have we owe to udders.”
National Milk Month actually started as National Milk month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk when production was at a surplus. Missouri is actively involved in promoting the dairy industry. The Missouri Dairy Revititalization Act of 2015 has three important components. The first one gives the dairy producer a margin insurance premium assistance program which is a safety net for farmers when the economy is slow. The second component provides 80 scholarships in the amount of $5000 each to assist eligible students and in return the students will intern 400 hours during the summer at a dairy farm in Missouri, and the final component will provide education for dairy farmers to improve the success of the dairy industry. This bill will protect farmers, encourage young people to join the agricultural industry, and educate farmers in better farming methods.
Today, it is an annual tradition celebrating the contribution the dairy industry has made to the world after the National Dairy Council stepped in to promote the cause and change the name to National Dairy Month.