The rain was falling and it was chilly for early June. But that didn't stop some 500 folks from visiting the open house of the Union-Go Dairy in Randolph County on June 10.
The fact that the family held the open house, and that it went smoothly, is news in itself. Their intentions to locate a dairy there in the middle of farm country drew the ire of local residents. It took more than a year for Tony Goltstein, owner of the dairy, to obtain the necessary permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management that were required before he could build a large confinement facility.
Visitors during the event included neighboring farmers, other dairymen, members of Dutch families who have opened diaries in Indiana, or those who intend to do so soon, and a few neighbors.
Asked what was most important to see while walking through the buildings at the open house, Goltstein replied simply, "The cows - see the cows."
And indeed, his 1,400-cow operation is stocked with attractive, well-cared for cows, mostly Holsteins.
Asked if getting ready for the open house was worth the effort, his wife replied, "I think so - we've had comments today about how content the cows are and how much room they have. That's been reassuring."
No protesters appeared at the site. Those who helped the family obtain the permits to build their dairy say opposition has cooled, at least publicly. Many of the same people who opposed the dairy are now turning their efforts to opposing several large hog operations that are seeking permits to build facilities in the county.
In fact, an election-sized sign featuring the picture of a pig and language about local control was evident in a yard only a couple miles from the dairy site. Word on the street is that the hog operations are backed by out-of-state interests.
Approaching the dairy, within a half-mile, a mild odor was evident. But it's farm country, where such operations were meant to be, with very few houses nearby. The site itself was as clan as possible, and the manure handling systems seemed to be working effectively.
Working his way through the barn and to the food area at the open house was a person in a sheriff's uniform. Asked why he was there, he was overheard to say "You know politicians can't stay away from these kind of events."
Yet it's likely not coincidence that his sheriff's car was parked conspicuously in front of the dairy office during the tour - just in case.