Each year the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) recognizes the top Minnesota dairy herds with low somatic cell counts (SCC). Since 2003, MDA and 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 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 as a way of measuring the health of their cows.

Douglas County's Alan and Jessica Klimek have 90 registered Holsteins worthy of the list of one of the state's top herds. The couple also have another 100 heifers on their farm.  Jessica says the couple have been dairy farming together since they got married 19 years ago.  They bought the farm from Alan's parents.  It was the farm he grew up on.  The Klimeks have received this recognition four times before, including the last three years.  Their creamery has also given them quality awards for 15 years now and DHIA has presented them with multiple high herd dollar value awards.

The dairy producers on the list (BELOW) have achieved the goal of having an average SCC of 100,000 or lower in the previous year. (The names appear in the order of lowest to highest average SCC.)  The following producers making the list are only those from the West Central Minnesota counties of Douglas, Otter Tail, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd Counties:

  • Suzanne Jacobs (Otter Tail County)
  • Keith Middendorf (Todd)
  • Edward Kauffman (Todd)
  • Knisley Dairy Inc. (Stearns)
  • Alan & Jessica Klimek (Douglas)
  • Riverview LLP-W Dublin (Swift)
  • Ryan Talberg (Stearns)
  • Jeff Middendorf (Stearns)
  • Charles & Mary Schornack (Otter Tail)
  • Cory & Jenna Middendorf (Stearns)
  • High Point Dairy - (Joe & Kim Engelmeyer) (Stearns)
  • Duane Burke (Otter Tail)
  • Travis & Angela Scherping (Stearns)
  • Paul & Bonnie Middendorf (Todd)
  • Jeremy & Amanda Wentland (Stearns)
  • Kuechle Dairy LLC (Stearns)
  • Gregory Dairy LLC (Stearns)
  • Peter Mark Hendrickson (Todd)
  • Mark Ruegemer (Pope)
  • Robert & Ann Cremers (Stearns)
  • Dave & Dan Bruder (Todd)
  • Jacob Mehr (Stearns)
  • Tim Bruder (Todd)
  • Steve & Lori Dockendorf (Stearns)
  • Paul Mehr (Stearns)
  • Edgar Martin (Stearns)