Without stepping a foot outside, 53,800 people have taken the opportunity to visit a dairy farm this fall through virtual farm tours, hosted by local dairy farmers and American Dairy Association North East, within the first three weeks of the tours.
The tours, geared toward different age groups of students, connect classrooms with a modern dairy farm for a live video tour. Using real-time video chat technology, students saw cows and peaked inside barns and milking parlors. They asked questions of dairy farmers and got to learn firsthand how farmers care for their cows, the land, and how milk is produced.
And yes, we recorded them, so you can bring your family along on a virtual farm tour anytime – they’re great for in-home learning!
Pre-K through third graders virtually visited with dairy farmer Stacey Copenhaver in Lebanon, Pa., who showed them around Talview Dairy. “I really enjoyed hosting the tour because it allowed so many different groups of students to be here ‘on the farm’ virtually, more than we could ever host in person,” said Copenhaver.
“What a wonderful experience - my students loved our first virtual field trip, and they didn't want it to end. It brought a little bit of ‘normal’ to our school day. The kids learned so much and we can't wait to learn more,” said Jill Hoagland, second grade teacher at Holy Spirit School in Annandale, Va.
“As a retired dairy farmer, I thought the information was grade relevant and very thorough,” said Mrs. Janie Hollister, who teaches third grade at Hammond Central School in Hammond, N.Y. “We used to be a farming community, but have just a handful of farms left, and I do not even have a student now that lives on a farm,” said Hollister.
Dairy farmer Hannah Worden in Clifton Springs, N.Y., hosted fourth through sixth graders on a tour of Will-O-Crest Farm. “While we are unable to welcome guests to our farm, we are thrilled to be able to offer our on-farm experience to students virtually,” said Worden. “During the tour, our virtual guests see how we care for our cows, the environment and contribute to our local communities.”
About 35 fifth graders from Clara Barton School #2 in the Rochester City School District were among the thousands attending the Virtual Farm Tour. “The kids loved it! They were amazed at how big the cows were and how much work goes into farming,” said their teacher, Dale Spafford. “I hope the kids learned about farm life, the sacrifices farmers make to meet our needs, how cows are an important natural resource, and that they have a newfound respect for farmers and farm living.”
Dairy Farmer Joy Widerman of JoBo Holsteins in Gettysburg, Pa., led the tour for the high school students. “My favorite part of farm tours is helping our visitors understand all the great things that take place on a dairy farm. Farmers like me care for our animals, our workers, our environment and our local communities, and opportunities like these Virtual Farm Tours help me demonstrate just how we do it.”
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.