By Sarah Adamson, member services manager and Lauren Brey, director of marketing and research
It is one thing to read about something or see it on TV. It’s another to go out and experience it.
A group of family and consumer education teachers took that to heart March 16 by visiting two eastern Wisconsin livestock farms to gather insights to take back to students in their classrooms.
DBMMC teamed up with the Wisconsin Beef Council to co-sponsor the farm-to-fork tour. Educators from across Wisconsin visited Rosendale Dairy and Wishing Well Simmentals, a cow/calf beef farm, in the Oshkosh, Wis., area.
The tour also included a stop at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton for cooking demonstrations, including the health benefits of beef and dairy and healthy ways to prepare different meals. DBMMC provided milk for attendees.
Throughout the day, participants saw firsthand how farmers care for their animals and learned about how beef and dairy foods fit into a healthy diet. They had the opportunity to get up close and personal with dairy cows in a freestall barn, as well as with beef cattle in their pens and pasture.
Many participants appreciated the chance to see different aspects of agriculture. They liked visiting both a small farm and large farm as well as hearing information directly from farmers. Wide-ranging questions touched on cow health, antibiotics and what happens to treated milk, how long dairy cows live, how long it takes a cow to be trained to enter the milking parlor, and how beef cattle handle being outside the majority of the time.
WHAT THEY SAID
Feedback about the tour from family and consumer educators:
How would you describe your feelings toward beef producers?
All farmers are fantastic.
The large dairy farm seemed more personal; they care about their product and the animals.
Hardworking people who are doing a great job.
Respect for them; they are very educated and have pride.
I am amazed as to the amount of thinking, planning and implementation needed to produce, market and distribute beef and dairy products.
They care about the animals and the environment.
These places seemed to care about their animals and their workers.
What would you say was the most beneficial aspect of the tour?
Seeing what happens behind the scenes.
Hearing information from actual farmers.
Being on the farm sites.
Contrast of small and large farms.
I am now better able to describe this to my students.
Why do you think this information would be beneficial to others in your field?
We all need to know and appreciate all the effort that goes into our food supply.
Neat to know more about our food system when educating our children.
Many teachers are unknowledgeable about the agriculture industry and it should be promoted more in school.
Many of my students have no idea the process and work their food goes through before they put it in their mouths.