The conference center grounds were gorgeous with lots of space to go for walks and about a million ground squirrels. I can't blame them. I would live there too if I was a little forest creature.
There were presentations
and business card exchanges. AgLocal wasn't there. Someone I met at the conference had met with them the week before. I'm really excited about them though.
We went on tours of the amazing facilities at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.
They have a dairy with robotic milkers. They know each cow based on a tag they were and the cows decide when they want to be milked (within some minimum and maximum frequency constraints). I'm lactating so maybe I was a little over excited by them. It was really cool though.
The barn is the only Silver LEED certified barn in the U.S. It looks a lot like a standard dairy barn.
The cows also get to decide when they hang out in the pasture and when they go to the barn. Apparently when its time to switch pastures they wait around in the barn for the farm manager to shift the gate. I took some extras pictures of cows for my mom. She loves cows.
They fed us amazing, locally sourced food the whole time with multiple desserts at every meal. I'm pretty sure I gained back every ounce of baby weight I ever lost. It was so worth it.
We even had a bonfire which I thought was a little funny. The conference was about Carbon, Energy and Climate. I guess it counts as a field lab on the conversation of carbon to carbon dioxide.
On the last day I spent some time walking around the grounds of the Kelloggs' summer "cottage." It was a little nicer than the dorms I stayed in.
It's on Gull Lake which has the most amazingly clear fresh water I have ever seen.
It was really fun, but I was really happy to be home. I'm not sure if Norie or Austin was happier to have me back.