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Showers don't dampen Pierce Dairy Breakfast

Annette Langer, Ellsworth, co-chair of the apparel committee for the upcoming 2010 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, shows off the newest show souvenirs -- stuffed Holsteins, horses and pigs -- at her dairy breakfast display. Sales of the toys, shirts, hats and tote bags will help pay for the show next July.

At 7 a.m., the line of diners was already forming at the Dave & Amy Bechel farm, south of Elmwood, as the Pierce County Dairy Promotion Committee hosted its first dairy breakfast in a decade.

Guests enjoyed Belgian waffles, butter, syrups, cheese, milk, puddings and custard in the presence of Bechels' 400-plus Holsteins.

Light rain continued to fall during the first 90 minutes of the five-hour event but organizers hoped to feed at least 400 people before things wrapped up, according to Pierce ag extension agent Greg Andrews.

Cheryl O'Brien, Wisconsin's 62nd Alice in Dairyland, arrived about 8 a.m. to spark up the festivities. The reigning Miss Elmwood, Mary LaFlex, had already been through the waffle line as had Sen.Sheila Harsdorf and some 50 other guests.

Around the farm, volunteers offered for sale the newest apparel promoting the upcoming 2010 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days near River Falls and staffed a petting area that allowed kids to get close to a Holstein calf, new puppies and a Mini-Rex rabbit.

A milking contest was planned for later in the morning and some guests were already licking custard cones, compliments of Culvers restaurant owner Bob Parsons. Many area businesses contributed door prizes like coffee mugs, sweatshirts and gift certificates for givaway.

The Bechels established their roots at the CTH S location in 1961. A rented farmstead has evolved into a large, modern dairy operation that boasts a herd average of 26,500 pounds supported by 910 owned and rented acres, according to an informational handout.

In 2009 alone, the Bechels added a 2.5 million gallon lagoon which provides 8 months of manure storage and a bunker large enough to hold feed for a year. At least nine family members are involved in the farm operation along with three employees.