Jeff Fasching spoke on farming, and in particular, the American Dairy Association, at the June information session at St. Mary's Care Center in Winsted.
He is an area farmer, dairy man and a member of the McLeod County Dairy Association. His daughter, Katie, McLeod County Dairy Princess, accompanied him.
The American Dairy Association (ADA) is organized on a state and national level. All farmers who belong to the association give 15 cents per 100 pounds of product to the state and national organizations. The state uses the funds for advertising; the national level uses them for research.
McLeod County has a program called "Cow to You." The eight committee members in this program go in pairs to elementary schools (grades 2-5) in the Twin Cities where they explain dairy products, give the children samples, and talk about cows. They present this information through the use of video and printed information.
The county also has fund-raising events for the dairy industry. These include the Malt Wagon at the McLeod County Fair, Cheeseburger Days, and holiday cheese trays. Funds obtained from these events are used for scholarships and advertising.
According to Jeff Fasching, there were 350 dairy farmers in McLeod County in 1991. In 1997, there were only 225, a decrease of 75. The average age of a dairy farmer is 55 years old.
Katie Fasching explained her responsibilities as a McLeod County Dairy Princess. She is a spokesperson for the industry and makes public appearances, especially in parades. During June, she has over 20 events to participate in.
There are two other dairy princesses in McLeod County. The program also has ambassadors-six younger girls who help and sometimes fill in for the princesses when they have other appearances.