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2007 Farmers of the Year - Florence and David MinarCedar Summit Farm and Creamery | www.cedarsummit.com
The Dave and Florence Minar Family of Cedar Summit Farm and Creamery in New Prague, MN, operate a 170-cow organic dairy farm on 200 owned and 270 rented acres. All five of the Minars’ children as well as their spouses have roles in the operation. Dave and Florence are active in their local community, serving with the Scott County Fair Board, Land Stewardship Project, Sustainable Farming Association and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. They host numerous farm tours, including Minneapolis inner city schools and senior citizen bus tours.
At their on-site creamery, the Minars process organic milk into non-homogenized milk, heavy cream and ice cream. Three quarters of their liquid milk sales are distributed in returnable glass bottles. Cedar Summit Farm and Creamery markets through their on-farm retail Store, delivers to over 80 food stores in the Twin Cities area, restaurants and some local stores in the New Prague area. Excess milk is sold to PastureLand Cooperative for processing into a variety of cheeses & butter products.
The Minars stopped using chemicals on the land in 1974 and went totally organic in the early 1990’s. Cedar Summit Farm and Creamery is currently certified by Certified Organic, Inc. (COI). All animals are rotationally grazed on 2-5 acre paddocks most of the year. Animals are 100% grass fed, with no grain ration. Their rolling herd average is 11,000-12,000 pounds. The Minars modernized their milking system to a 16-cow parallel pit parlor in 1994, and added their creamery in 1997.
Since the farm is in permanent grasses and hay, soil erosion has been greatly minimized. The Minars participated in a University of Minnesota project researching water quality in Sand Creek (one of the highest contributors of sediment and phosphorus to the Minnesota River) which showed creek water left their farm cleaner than when it came in. They have stabilized stream banks and maintain diversions in steep cow lanes to prevent erosion.
The Minars’ guiding philosophy is that “healthy land equals healthy animals and healthy people.” Organic farming has helped them environmentally, economically and socially. It helps keep costs down and increases revenues. Most family members are trained in Holistic Management practices. Family retreats help keep communication open between family members and insure that all are involved when important decisions are made. Dave’s advice to dairy farmers considering transitioning to organic is to “think outside the box” and “join a graziers’ network.”