As schools closed at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, there was an educational gap for many kids. School districts had to adapt to virtual learning on the fly, and many parents had to pivot working from home while moonlighting as homeschool teachers.
That’s where dairy farmers stepped in.
In 2018, ADA North East began a virtual farm tour program for kids to teach them about dairy farming. The incredibly popular program allows students to take a field trip to a dairy farm without leaving the classroom. The live tour is broadcast to classrooms around the northeast, with farmers engaging in real time with thousands of students. While that program wasn’t feasible in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were able to take last year’s virtual farm tour videos and share them with parents around the region on social media.
With these videos, parents had a new educational resource they could feel comfortable using with their children between other virtual classes. In just a few months, these tours have been viewed more than 230,000 times on YouTube.
Seeing the demand for fun, educational resources, ADA North East quickly transitioned to creating new content for kids who were stuck at home. By late March, we launched a new video series – Fun on the Farm. Each episode is hosted by a local dairy farmer who shows off their farm and teaches kids about a range of topics. While virtually visiting Barbland Dairy in Fabius, New York, students learned all about the farm’s sustainability practices. On the tour of Mapleview Dairy in Madrid, New York, they learned about how farmers implement new technology. At Porterdale Farms, in Adams Center, New York, the hot topic of keeping cows cool during the summer. At North Harbor Dairy / Old McDonald’s Farm in Sackets Harbor, New York, the virtual tour taught about cows’ feed and how ice cream goes from cow to cone.
Other tours have focused on topics including calf care, the role of veterinarians, and springtime on the farm.
In just four months, the ADA North East team has helped produced nearly 60 episodes. As of late July, the series has garnered more than 2.5 million views on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
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.