Any Classroom Enrolled in the Discover Dairy Program Can Apply for a Farm Field Trip Grant
Teachers who have classrooms that are enrolled in the Discover Dairy program are eligible to apply for one of 80 grants available to fund a field trip to a local dairy farm. Funds from the grant can assist in covering the cost of busing, the farm tour itself, lunch, or a dairy treat. There are 15 grants designated specifically for Pennsylvania classrooms and 40 grants designated for Wisconsin classrooms. Farm tour field trip grant applications must be submitted online by March 1, 2022.
“A farm tour field trip is an exciting way for students to learn about how farmers care for their cows, conserve their natural resources, and how milk impacts the economy of the local community,” said Brittany Snyder, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “We hope these grants make it a little easier for teachers and classrooms to take a trip to a dairy farm in their community and see firsthand all that goes into running a successful dairy operation.”
Selection is based on the number of students eligible to attend the tour and previous and future plans of dairy education in the classroom. Discover Dairy staff do not provide farm suggestions for the dairy farm trip. Teachers who apply for the grants must plan the trip and contact a farm in their community to make arrangements for the tour.
“I like this field trip because it’s hands-on, and I think kids need to learn about agriculture and where their milk comes from. The whole hands-on experience is really beneficial to them,” said Chrissy Blycheck, a previous grant recipient and first-grade teacher in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
Farm tour field trip grant applications will be accepted until March 1, 2022. Grant selection will be ongoing and
Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence based on the number of students attending, previous and future plans of dairy education in the classroom as well as a first-come, first-served basis. The application is to receive funds for a farm field trip that is planned by the applicant. Applications without a specified dairy farm to tour will not be considered for the grant.
Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association Northeast, American Dairy Association Indiana, Midwest Dairy, The Dairy Alliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Dairy Management West, New England Dairy, Dairy Farmers of Washington, American Dairy Association Mideast, Dairy Council of Florida, and United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
When it comes to dairy farming, new technology is emerging across the industry to increase efficiency, enhance cow comfort and further reduce dairy’s carbon footprint. When Lisa Jagielo, an agriculture instructor at Unity School District in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, heard about farm tour field trip grants offered through the Discover Dairy program, she knew it would be an eye-opening way for her students to see some of this technology firsthand.
After being accepted into the grant program, Jagielo’s class spent the day touring Minglewood, Inc., an 800-cow dairy in Deer Park, WI.
“25 percent of students come into my classroom with an agricultural background. Many are far removed from agriculture in their lives, especially farming, and they do not understand how their food is grown. A trip like this was very eye-opening for them,” Jagielo said.
Throughout the farm tour, concepts that students discussed in their agriculture classes came to life. They learned about farm management, dairy farm technology, and dairy cattle evaluation.
“The tour provided a vivid picture of what a modern dairy farm looks like,” Jagielo said. “They were able to see, smell, and hear everything on the farm. I can lecture about farming all day long, but until a student experiences it firsthand, it doesn’t sink in.”
The Wisconsin dairy farm has eight robotic milking machines and an automated feed pusher. This gave students an opportunity to see how dairy professionals use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) on a daily basis to monitor cow health, review data, and make calculated business decisions.
“We started the tour by reviewing live data from the robotic milking machines on a television in the conference room of the barn. I think students were blown away that we were in a ‘barn,’” Jagielo said. “Then, we stepped out into the large free-stall barn and toured the area. Students were amazed by the technology and especially liked the robotic feed pusher and robotic milking machines.”
Students also had the chance to ask questions during the farm tour and talk directly with farmers in their community.
“It was one of the nicest dairy farms I have ever stepped foot on. The cow comfort, cleanliness, herd health, and production levels were extremely impressive,” Jagielo shared. “The farmer’s presentation skills were very polished and professional, and the technology was mind-blowing. I’m so glad we took this trip.”
The farm tour field trip grant covered the cost of transportation, dairy snacks, and cow sunglasses for each student, making for an educational and enjoyable day.
“The grant allowed us to take the trip to the next level, and it allowed for a large portion of our student body to step into a dairy barn and see firsthand what a modern dairy farm looks like. There is no doubt it will be one of the most memorable trips they will take during their educational career,” Jagielo added.
Grants are provided through the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania to fund a field trip to a local dairy farm in your community. Any classroom currently enrolled in the Discover Dairy program is eligible to apply, with five of the ten grants designated specifically for Pennsylvania elementary classrooms. Applications will only be accepted September 1, 2020 – March 1, 2021.
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.
As part of Discover Dairy’s 2019 “Adopt a Cow” program, students throughout Pennsylvania and beyond had the opportunity to gain a firsthand look inside a dairy farm. Through a partnership with the Midwest Dairy Association, more than 80 classrooms registered to participate in the program and “adopted” a cow from a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, Illinois or Minnesota.
With live video chats, photos, activity sheets, certificates, and other learning activities, the program gave students a deeper understanding of the dairy industry as they watched their cows grow throughout the school year.