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Carlsons named dairy producers of year

ST. CLOUD -- Carlson Dairy of Pennock was named Minnesota's 2009 producer of the year by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association at the Midwest Dairy Expo in St. Cloud.

Carlson Dairy is a century farm and is owned and operated by Curtney and Louise Carlson with their two sons, Chad and Carl, and their families. Chad and Kindra Carlson have three sons, Cael (9), Caden (7) and Conlan (3). Carl and Kellie Carlson also have three sons, Colten (12), Clay (10) and Cavin (2).

The award is given by the Minnesota Milk Producers Association every year to producers who have a proven commitment to managing their dairy for quality, have enthusiasm in promoting the dairy industry and are active leaders in their local community.

Carlson Dairy milks 900 dairy cows in a double-14 parallel milking parlor. Apart from family members, there are 15 full-time and five part-time employees.

The family has modernized its facility by transitioning from a 100-cow tie-stall into a new 450-cow freestall barn and milking parlor across the road in 2000. In 2008, the Carlsons transitioned their 6-row freestall barn into a 10-row cross-ventilated barn with sand bedding, and a new manure handling system where the sand is continuously recycled and reused.

Each year, Carlson Dairy teams up with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee to host tours for fifth-grade students. In addition, they enjoy visits by preschoolers, youth scouting troops, adult civic groups, and more. Their favorite promotion is the annual Pennock Fun Days Parade where the entire family hands out "Got Milk" stickers and dairy treats.

"Carlson Dairy is an excellent example of today's family dairy farm. Three families pooling their resources together to produce wholesome, quality milk," stated Bob Lefebvre, executive director with the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. "While the farm size may be larger than in the past, the same values that began their family farm with Curtney's grandparents, still hold true today. Care for their cows. Care for the land and water. And care for their neighbors. Congratulations to the Carlson's for being selected by fellow dairy farmers for their achievement."