Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing how their food is produced. American Dairy Association North East works to build dialogue and relationships between dairy farmers and the environmental community. The result is an increased understanding of modern farming practices and an appreciation of how both groups can work together to reach shared environmental objectives.
ADANE helped make it possible for attendees of the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) annual conference to learn first-hand about dairy farmers’ commitment to stewardship, both in the classroom and on the farm.
In the Classroom
Retired dairy farmer and Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance board member Leroy Bupp of Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, conducted a workshop about farming practices such as no-till and cover cropping, used to improve soil health while protecting local waterways from sediment and nutrient runoff.
Healthy soils provide numerous benefits: they improve crop production, reduce surface runoff of stormwater, encourage the development of a diverse biological system, and in some cases, reduce the need for pesticides.
Bupp’s presentation included demonstrations comparing the physical structure, porosity, and erodibility of soils from farm fields using no-till practices and soils from conventionally plowed fields.
This was the second consecutive year that Bupp presented at this conference. The standing-room only crowd of 40 was perhaps an indication that the topic is of great interest to the environmental education community. Several attendees approached him afterward, asking if he might be available to present to their organizations.
On the Dairy Farm
Other conference attendees had the opportunity to visit Cow Comfort Inn Dairy in Union Bridge, Md. Owners Katie and David Pyle gave visitors an inside look at the inner workings of their farm, from milk production to animal care to environmental practices.
Attendees were encouraged to ask all their questions about dairy farming and the dialogue flowed. “I loved the tour and came away with new respect for the farmers and the process [of milk production],” said one attendee. Another participant noted that the tour was “so educational for me and I am excited to pass information to my students.”
“I loved the tour and came away with new respect for the farmers…”
Learn more ways ADA North East dairy farmers are working with the environmental community in caring for land and water.