While on a tour of Iowa small businesses, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad stopped at Fitzgerald’s Inc. to tour the facility in Elkader and learn more about changes in the dairy industry. During the visit, the focus remained on technology and how robots have changed the way dairy producers and companies like Fitzgerald’s do business. Fitzgerald’s owner, Mike Fitzgerald shared how equipment has evolved from the milker buckets his dad started servicing and selling in 1959 to products like Lely’s Astronaut A4. “Robotic technology has put excitement back into the industry. We see it in our customers and in our employees,” he said.
Mike also noted the attention this kind of technology brings. Along with the governor’s visit, he cited being a part of a story that aired on NBC’s show Rock Center and meeting reporter Harry Smith as an example. But what he said what really is exciting is seeing the success of dairy programs, like the one at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa, with the high volume of students enrolling. “Those kind of programs are moving the industry forward and keeping new grads in our state.”