Their decadent cheeses were served up alongside mouthwatering strawberries, sweet blueberries and more, as the team at Windshadow Farm & Dairy walked away from a recent summer picnic having earned “Farmer of the Year” honors for owners Ron & Soo Klein of Bangor.
The Van Buren Conservation District’s (VBCD) Summer Picnic was hosted this year at the Paw Paw Conservation Club, and organizers say it went off without a hitch. With perfect weather, beautiful flowers and mouthwatering strawberries from Druskovich Farms, and perfectly sweet blueberries from Brookside Farms, those amazing cheeses from Windshadow Farm & Dairy capped off the fixins’ for those on hand for the picnic. This year they also roasted a hog raised by Molly Kubiszak that was purchased at the Van Buren County Youth Fair large animal auction. While the food is great there is more that happens at the annual meeting, including recognition and updated information.
Conservation District staff took a few moments to thank their Board of Directors, partners, volunteers, and residents of the community for supporting the great work that is happening throughout the county. Staff discussed the important programming coming out of the VBCD office such as invasive species, recycling, native vegetation, and septic system education. More was explained about the vast work and best management practices such as drain tile management, cover crops, and proper chemical and fuel containment that is being done by farmers working with our technicians.
The true highlight of the night was the award ceremonies. The “Farmer of the Year” award was to the team at Windshadow farm and dairy in Bangor, where Ron and Soo Klein raise and milk dairy goats as part of a grazing program and then use the milk to make cheeses in their commercial cheese plant which opened in 2017.
AJ Brucks, Executive Director of the district says, “Ron and Soo are giant advocates for safe farming practices and have participated in several programs with the Conservation District. Windshadow is proudly verified in the Farmstead, Cropping, and Livestock systems of the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, and are certified Wildlife Friendly, the first to do so in Michigan, as well as Certified Animal Welfare Approved.”
Kyle Mead is the MAEAP Technician at the district. He says, “The Verification in MAEAP shows that Ron and Soo care about the environment, while the Wildlife Friendly certification and the Animal Welfare certification shows that they are also concerned about the health and happiness of not only their herd of goats, but also the animals that live in the environment that their farm operates in.”
Meanwhile, Buster Turner of Lawton was given the “Conservationist of the Year” Award for supporting the VBCD in its many programs. Buster helps with the Tree Seedling Sale every April and with a twist of the arm, he and his daughter Laura have put on an amazing spread for the last nine years of summer picnics. Brucks tells us, “Buster is a dedicated resident with love and commitment to his community and is a truly genuine soul and friend of the VBCD.”
If you’d like to learn more about the programming of the Van Buren Conservation District you can click the link below or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VanBurenCD. Here’s the link:
The photo of Ron & Soo Klein of Windshadow Farms accompanying this story on Moody on the Market is courtesy of the Van Buren Conservation District office.