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Paynesville Press - June13, 2001

WCCO coming to Burg farm

By Michael Jacobson

Burg farm Duane and Irene Burg will be getting up a little earlier than normal on Friday. The days typically start early on a dairy farm, but Friday will be about as far from a typical farm day as you can get. A day in the life of the Burgs.

Duane (right) and son Dan (left) milk 80 cows daily and keep 400 animals on the farm.

"It isn't everyday that you have the Governor come to your farm," said Duane. "It's probably a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The Burgs - who farm 400 acres and keep 400 holstein animals on their farm a mile south of St. Martin with their son, Dan, and his fiancÄe, Lynn - will host the WCCO Radio broadcast on Friday from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Burgs were chosen to host the event by local plant representatives of the Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI).

"June is Dairy Month," said Duane, who grew up on a farm north of St. Martin and bought their present farm with his wife in 1969. "If we're not going to promote our own product, who is?"

The idea behind the WCCO broadcast is to bring awareness of the farm to the radio audience. Duane Burg thinks this is a needed message, especially with a growing population of city dwellers who don't know how farms deliver food to the dinner table. "It comes from the ground," he explained. "People think it just grows on the shelves. Well, it doesn't. There's a lot behind the scenes." Schedule for WCCO broadcast at the Burg farm.

Visitors to the farm on Friday will get to listen to WCCO personalities, eat breakfast or lunch, tour the farm facilities, and learn about agriculture from various experts. For instance, an agronomist will be on hand to explain growing crops. A nutrionist will explain the value of nutrition to a healthy animal herd and production.

Duane Burg Conservation experts will explain how manure is collected in a 1.2 million gallon pit and then used for fertilizer on the farm. "It's good for the farmer because you do save money on commercial fertilizer.," said Burg of having a manure management plan. "If you have a good manure plan, you can cut your commercial fertilizer in half, or at least by a quarter."

Duane Burg with calf.

"The maximum yield for the least cost. That's the goal," he added.

Even Burg's commercial milk hauler, Mike Keller, will have his truck on hand to explain how the milk is hauled from the farm to the AMPI plant in Paynesville. The Burgs have sold their milk to AMPI since 1972, when the creamery in St. Martin closed. Duane Burg now sits on the AMPI corporate board.

After the Burg farm was originally selected to host the WCCO broadcast, mad cow and hoof and mouth fears led to proposing alternative plans for hosting the event in Paynesville. For a time, the plan was to hold the event at the American Legion in Paynesville, but the subsiding of the disease fears led to the event's return to the farm.

Some biosecurity measures - like washing boots and shoes when entering the barn -╩will be asked of visitors to the farm, just to be on the safe side.

Some of the logistics for the event - like exactly where WCCO will be setting up - need to wait for WCCO's input. The Burgs are excited to have a crowd of people (a couple thousand people are expected throughout the course of the morning) tour their farm, especially a certain bald, ex-wrestler who is currently the Governor of Minnesota.

"Everything you see here today has been done since 1969," said Duane with pride, "except for the one dairy barn."

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