Top Minnesota Dairy Herds (SCC Ranking)

In honor of June Dairy Month, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson today released the annual list of top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Somatic cell count is a key indicator of milk quality – a lower SCC count is better for cheese production and a longer shelf life. This year, 115 dairy farms are being recognized for superior herd management skills by achieving an average under 100,000 SCC.

For more than a decade Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and University of Minnesota dairy experts have been working with the state’s dairy farmers to lower somatic cell counts. When the initiative began in 2003, the 100 herds honored that year included those with SCC averages as high as 144,000, compared to the goal of obtaining a SCC under 100,000.

Although somatic cells occur naturally and are not a food safety concern, dairy farmers monitor them because processors will pay a premium for milk with low counts. A farmer whose herd has a very low count can receive significantly more per hundredweight compared to a farmer whose herd average is high.

The farmers who make the list receive a certificate of congratulations signed by Commissioner Frederickson. Congratulations to the following list producers:

Top Minnesota Dairy Herds

  • John O'Loughlin, AMPI
  • Wilferd Strehler, Bongards Creameries
  • Allen Deutz, AMPI
  • Alton Wood, Plainview ilk Products
  • Funk's Midway Dairy, Land O'Lakes, Inc.
  • Kent Happke, AMPI
  • Scott or Denise Gathje, First District Association
  • Francis Rynda, Le Sueur Cheese Co.
  • Denny or Mary Popp, First District Association
  • Spring Lake Farms - Gary, Corrine and Scott Lieser, Bongards Creameries
  • Hidden Hill Dairy LLC, Land O'Lakes, Inc.
  • Merdan Dairy INC, AMPI
  • Michael & Donna Ruther, Lakes Area Cooperative
  • Michael Bruce, AMPI
  • Thomas E Lyle, First District Association


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