“Each year, the trip out west offers a unique educational opportunity for our dairy management students. Students enjoy having producers join them on the trip and it benefits both the producer and the students in a variety of ways,” said Dairy Outreach Coordinator Wanda Emerich.
Michael Duncan owns and operates a 50-cow dairy farm in Ormstown, Quebec. He is in the process of transferring the farm to his son, who will be the fourth generation in his family to farm there. Michael has been an attendee at Miner Institute’s Dairy Day event for decades, and it’s where Michael met Harry in the 1980s. Michael was the inaugural winner of the Harry Randy Memorial Award; Michael and his daughter Melissa accompanied Wanda, Dairy Farm Manager Steve Couture and our five Advanced Dairy Management students on a trip to California in February. The group visited several farms in the Central Valley, toured San Francisco, and attended the World Ag Expo. Michael called it “the trip of a lifetime” and also noted that it was his first time on an airplane in 32 years!
Visiting California has been on Michael's bucket list, he said, adding that the water situation there was surprising. “I always knew CA was dry, but nothing prepared me for the extent to which the Central Valley is essentially a desert with irrigation. There are almost no trees. We can stay here in the Northeast, thank you very much. I would much rather deal with too much rain than in-house fighting over irrigation water,” Michael said. He was excited to visit an almond orchard and see a dairy larger than any other he’d visited previously. Michael also enjoyed discussing irrigation and the associated politics with a farm owner.
“This trip in honor of Harry was very special to me having known him so well,” Michael said. “My last hope is that Harry is smiling down on us all. He would have been standing first in line for the bus beside me!”
The winner for the 2019 trip will be chosen at Dairy Day in December 2018.