Ag Experience Insider: Agricultural Educating through Fun and Tourism

Farm Life Creamery has a passion for educating the public about agriculture through agritourism. Learning how to accomplish this has its challenges, but it has been worth every challenge they have come across. Continue reading to learn about Farm Life Creamery’s journey to agritourism. 

Beginning Agritourism

Since we started Farm Life Creamery we knew we wanted to provide education about where your food comes from, processes, farming practices, and different animal interactions. From choosing to not homogenize our bottled milk, making it “creamline” (which we figured would take some educational marketing for those that hadn’t experienced it before), to not using annatto to dye any of our cheese orange (our original cheddar and Colby are white because milk is white).

That said, we had always planned to open our place to the public to provide hands-on learning experiences. This took some research. We signed up for an agritourism workshop when we began and found out it was the FIRST one in South Dakota! We’ve now become panelists for the classes and continued to share our experiences. Consistently, we’ve hosted nearly 400 students the first couple weeks of May the last few years by welcoming school field trips! I can say that when you’ve had some tough days operating a small business, to hear a child exclaim “this is the BEST DAY EVER”, or “this is the BEST chocolate milk I’ve ever tasted”, that’s the stuff that makes it all worthwhile!

Dairy Excitement

We’ve always held a Customer Appreciation Day in June to celebrate June Dairy Month, but this year, we’ve challenged ourselves once again and are hosting our First Annual CheeseFest! We’ve borrowed some ground from the field next door for guest parking to free up our entire space to local vendors and competitors in our BIG CHEESE Cook-Off competition. Amongst the kid’s inflatables, tie-dye station, mini-golf, playground, farm store, and petting farm, we will have teams competing for the coveted title of BIG CHEESE with their creative entries, where the only rule is that Farm Life Creamery cheese is the star of the dish. We can’t WAIT to try them all! And we have been slammed getting ready for the 15 vendors and 7 cook-off teams that will be arriving at 7am for setup on Saturday!

Agricultural Amusement

We are always here to answer any questions for anyone considering opening to the public. We are all stronger when we work together. Side note: we don’t do tours at the family dairy, which is located 3 miles from us. We’ve kept the traffic to our processing facility for many reasons. Also in July of last year, South Dakota passed a bill that strengthens liability protections for agritourism activity operators in South Dakota. Check it out!

Education is important and it can be done in fun ways – creamery tours, samples, and a petting farm! Plus, it’s allowed me (Laura) to fill our farm with wonderful re-homed creatures that I adore with the excuse of making our petting farm fun for all. We have everything from emus to alpacas, to a new family of Icelandic sheep to teach and create smiles for all who visit.