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State Cattlemen's tour to visit Cottonwood, Jackson counties’ producers

WINDOM — Southwest Minnesota cattle producers will take center stage next week, showcasing the diversity of production agriculture in Cottonwood and Jackson counties to individuals from their back door to across the state.

The Cottonwood Cattle Producers will host the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association’s summer tour and trade show Tuesday in the Windom and surrounding area.

“It's a good opportunity to show how we do things in our part of the state and use the resources that we have,” said Cottonwood County Cattle Producer board member and tour coordinator Jamey Hochstein.. “It’s also good to show innovative things that producers are doing.”

Tuesday’s tour will be divided into north and south halves. The north half will take participants to operations in Cottonwood County.

North tours include:

  • Graff Feedlots LLC, northeast of Jeffers: cow-calf pasture operated by Troy and Hilary Paplow and Glen and ValRee Graff that implements rotational grazing and cover crops.
  • Minnesota Supreme Feeders, south of Lamberton: modern feedlot owned by Warren, Maxine and Mark Pankonin.
  • J&S Grazing, west of Windom: stocker pasture operated by Jeff and Scott Fredin.

The south tour will take guests to:

  • Extended Ag Service, Lakefield: An agriculture service provider operated by Jim, Andy and Matt Nesseth that offers scouting, research and advice.
  • O’Connor Farms, southwest of Lakefield: A vintage feedlot with improvements to meet demands of today’s production expectations and market owned by Dan O’Connor.
  • Marlin and Kelly Piotter cow-calf pasture, southeast of Windom: Rotational grazing pasture.

Bus service to tour locations begins at 7 a.m. Tuesday and every 15 minutes after until 9 a.m. Buses will depart and return to the Cottonwood County Fairgrounds in Windom. A continental breakfast will be available before the tours.

Hochstein said the tour committee was intentful in its production selections.

“We want a diversified tour,” he said. “We looked at different operations in our coverage area and found things that were unique to our area.”

Hochstein said Tuesday’s tour is designed for both producers and non-producers alike.

“It’s a good way to see what other producers are doing, (and give producers) other ideas and ways to improve their own operation,” he said. “It’s also a good opportunity for the general public to get out into pastures of places they drive by every day. You may think you know what’s going on, but the producers can explain why they’re doing what they’re doing.”  

Hochstein added that the tour is also a good opportunity to demonstrate to individuals that producers make concerted efforts to provide the best treatment and care for their livestock.

Tuesday’s event will also include a trade show, which will feature 56 indoor and 12 outdoor ag-related vendors. The trade show will be open all day at the Cottonwood County Fairgrounds in Windom.

Cattle producer organizations across the state have the option of hosting the state tour on a 10-year basis. The Cottonwood Cattle Producers last hosted the event in 2008, and also hosted in 1998.

Hochstein said a group of about 20 Cottonwood Cattle Producers formed a tour and trade show committee and subcommittees about 18 months ago in order to prepare for Tuesday’s event.

The committee is prepared to host 1,000 guests from across the state, but Hochstein estimates the attendance number will be closer to 650 to 800 people. Registration includes a noon meal and steak dinner.

To pre-register, visit the Cottonwood Cattle Producers Facebook site or Minnesota State Cattle Association’s website: mnsca.org.

Registration will also be open from 6:15 a.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesday morning at the fairgrounds.