How can we help students understand the world of dairy farming? By taking them to visit a farm!
After receiving dairy farm field trip grants through the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation, several classrooms that are enrolled in the Discover Dairy program had the opportunity to visit local dairy farms this spring. During the farm tours, students learned how farmers care for their cows, conserve their natural resources, and produce dairy products that are full of nutrition.
“We started with a trip to a local dairy farm where the process begins. Then, we added a second trip, picking up where the dairy farm left off,” said Ronna Harter, a teacher at Noah’s Ark School in New Paris, Pennsylvania. “The kids were able to learn about the entire process from farm to store. It was such a wonderful experience.”
Students also had the chance to interact with farmers, ask thoughtful questions, and witness how dairy farming impacts the local community and economy at large.
“We were able to show our students how vital the role of a dairy farmer is in our lives. The students and staff had a great experience and learned a lot,” Harter added. “The added enrichment videos on Discover Dairy’s website also proved very useful. They showed the students what to expect and gave them the ability to come up with questions to learn more.”
For many students, these field trips may be the start of new experiences and a newfound appreciation for dairy farming. From learning about the milking and bottling process to watching a calf stand for the first time, students are able to take the knowledge they gained in class and watch it come to life.
“These dairy farm field trips give students the opportunity to get on the farm and put their book knowledge and learning into practice. To actually see a calf being born is a whole other story [than reading about it in a book],” said Brittany Haag, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence.
Funds from the dairy farm field trip grants can assist teachers in paying for busing, farm tours, lunch, or dairy treats. Any classroom currently enrolled in the Discover Dairy program is eligible to apply, with at least 10 of the 25 grants designated specifically for Pennsylvania elementary classrooms.
Applications for upcoming dairy farm field trip grants will be available in September of 2019.