Eight local farms have been recognized by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture as the top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts. Since 2003, the MDA and the University of Minnesota dairy experts have worked with the state’s dairy farmer to lower somatic cell counts.

Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower SCC is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life of bottled milk. Somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food safety concern. Dairy farmers monitor SCC because it can be used a way of measuring the health of their cows. Processors pay a premium for milk with low SCC and a farmer whose herd as a very low SCC can receive a significantly higher price than a farmer whose herd’s SCC is average to high.

Dairy producers on this list have achieved the goal of having a SCC of 100,000 or lower and the names on the list appear in the order of lowest to highest.

They are

Rice County: Randy and Kathleen Bauer, Agropur-LeSueur Cheese

Goodhue County: Craig Duden, Plainview Milk Products Cooperative; Greg Mahoney, Plainview Milk Products Cooperative; Burfeind Dairy Farm, First District Association; Ted Keller, Plainview Milk Products Cooperative; O'Reilly Organic Dairy, National Farmers Organization; Beth Brekke Goodue National Farmers Organization and Mark Chamberlain, Plainview Milk Products Cooperative

Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-333-3134. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy

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