Trailside Holsteins Dairy Farm will be hosting the Milk Fun[d] Run again this year as a fundraiser for the Fillmore Central Schools. Here Michael Johnson, his wife, Margaret and their son, Sawyer, are shown at last year’s Milk Fun[d] Run. COURTESY OF MICHAEL JOHNSON
Trailside Holsteins Dairy Farm will be hosting the Milk Fun[d] Run again this year as a fundraiser for the Fillmore Central Schools. Here Michael Johnson, his wife, Margaret and their son, Sawyer, are shown at last year’s Milk Fun[d] Run. COURTESY OF MICHAEL JOHNSON
Get ready, get set, go! And afterwards have a good time learning about dairy farms.

A few weeks after the first 5K run during Trout Days in Preston, Trailside Holsteins Dairy Farm hosts its second Milk Fun[d] Run in conjunction with Fountain's Trail Days on Saturday, June 7. The course is 2.5 miles long following the Root River Bike Trail, beginning at the Fountain Trailhead and ending at Trailside Holsteins dairy farm.

Michael Johnson from Trailside Holsteins and several of his family members organized the first Fun[d] Run last year after seeing a notice in a church bulletin for donations to help Fillmore Central acquire money for the students at the elementary school to have a healthy snack break.

"I saw there was a need at the school for financial assistance," Johnson commented. "I wanted to educate people about the dairy industry and help them know more about what we do. I want people to know the importance of dairy products for the growth and development of our youth."

The idea to hold a run came partly from his participation in 5K runs with his wife and son before. Having the run end at his family farm added a bonus to the idea, especially since the state bike trail runs right next to the farm.

"I always enjoy promoting dairy products and the dairy industry. There are a lot people using the trail during the summer I thought maybe we could do something using the trail," he related.

So the Milk Fun[d] Run was born and it is open to all individuals and families, regardless of age or skill, and it gives them a chance to learn where their milk comes from.

"Last year we had about 100 people participate and some were 80-years-old and some were babies. This was a big family event," he stated.

Johnson hopes to get more people for this next run, but will be happy with however many they can get. Trail Day's events will begin after the Fun[d] run, beginning with a three-on-three basketball tournament.

There was thought about making the run a full 5K or having it start at the farm and ending there as well. But when he runs, Johnson prefers a little different set-up.

"We were going to start from the farm and then run back, but I'd rather start somewhere and end someplace else and see different sights. It is also downhill and easier for people to run down when they start in Fountain," he said.

But as it was, last year a few participants did see the sights one more time. About one-third of those who came to the first Fun[d] Run walked back to Fountain after their time at Trailside Holsteins.

Johnson enjoys showing people where their milk comes from and telling them his family's story.

"I wanted people to come and see the farm and see where milk comes from. Even in Preston there are people who don't realize milk does not just come off the shelf," he said.

Many businesses in the area have recognized the importance of his view and all children's need for healthy foods.

"I am just raising money for the kids to be able to have milk at school and was not really asking businesses to get involved. But now many are asking if they can support the run. This is really awesome to see," Johnson expressed.

As expected, organizing a run does take a fair amount of time. Thankfully, he has the help and support of his family and some people from the Community Education Department at Fillmore Central. But he also has the support of the farm employees.

"We have good employees that let me take time off to organize the run," Johnson related.

Runners and walkers can participate in the run, but there will be awards waiting at the finish line for the fastest adult male and female runners and top youth finishers. Once the run is over, refreshments and dairy snacks will be provided.

"We have a number of sponsors who are donating money for ice cream and food. One of them is another dairy farmer who wanted to get involved. This was really great to see because it shows all dairy farmers have the same goal, which is to produce a quality and healthy product," he noted.

The award ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. after which participants may explore the farm and learn more about the dairy industry. Displays will be set up on the farm and tours of the dairy farm will also be available from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. A free shuttle back to the Fountain Trailhead will be available from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

The displays will show how milk goes from the cow to the table, how the cow produces the milk, what foods help the milk production and how much of that food a cow eats.

During the tours, participants will be able to see baby calves, go through the barns and see the cows and the stages of life they are in and finally the feed area.

One of Johnson's favorite parts of the Fun[d] Run last year was seeing the kids on the tours.

"It was fun to see the kids with the calves and hear the questions about milking. Some of the best tours we had were people coming right off the bike trail from somewhere else who were wondering what was going on," he said.

Many people showed up at the farm last year and had not even been in the run. They just wanted to learn more about farming.

Johnson's other favorite part of the event was handing the check over to the school. Last year, the run raised $2,300 that was then donated to the Fillmore Central School's Milk Fund.

All of the proceeds from this year's Milk Fun[d] Run will once again be donated to the milk fund at Fillmore Central Schools. The milk fund was created to assure that all students have the opportunity to enjoy wholesome milk during their morning milk break.

Anyone who would like to run or walk in the event and support the Fillmore Central School children in giving them the opportunity to have milk and other healthy products during their break can register at the Fountain Trailhead on June 7. A registration table will be set up there from 8 to 8:45 a.m. with the run beginning at 9 a.m.

Rather than having a set fee, to enter the run there is a suggested donation.

"We didn't want to exclude anyone from participating in the event due to financial reasons. We want everyone to come out on June 7 and have a good time. Because of this we went with a suggested donation amount instead of a set fee," Johnson stated.

The suggested donation for registering for the run is $20 per person and $40 per family. For those who want to go home with a souvenir, T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

For any questions about the Milk Fun[d] Run, visit the Facebook page Milk Fund Run or contact Michael Johnson at (507) 421-3967 or trailsideholsteins@gmail.com.

There are a lot of things people don't know about farming. But for those who are curious about where milk comes from or what farmers actually do, take a walk or run or even drive over to Trailside Holstein's farm on June 7. It will be worth it.