SYRACUSE, N.Y. – More than 30,000 students recently tuned into American Dairy Association North East’s three live virtual farm tours and asked the host farmers nearly 500 questions in real time.
Adam Bates of Stauffer Farms in North Lawrence, N.Y., spoke to 4,800 middle and high school students; Emilie Mulligan of Mulligan Farm in Avon, N.Y., hosted 9,200 elementary students; and Ed Facer of Star Rock Farm in Conestoga, Pa., hosted an additional 16,400 elementary students.
“Our virtual farm tour program continues to grow with more than 430,000 views since we started in 2018, and we strive to keep improving so the tours are more accessible and educational to continue to build trust in dairy,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “We’re fortunate to have dairy farmers who are willing to host the tours so that students can make the connection with those who are producing the milk and dairy products they enjoy at school and at home.”
ADA North East invited a reporter from the Auburn Citizen in Auburn, N.Y., to watch the Mulligan Farm tour with a classroom of kindergarteners at the Herman Avenue Elementary School.
“Our class had an opportunity to travel to a farm without leaving our classroom,” the class’s teacher Meg Gremli told the reporter. “The kids loved seeing the cows and really have an understanding, even at a young age, that the animals are well taken care of and that transpires to the products that we get are good and healthy for us.”
“They had such great questions, and it was fun to be able to answer them in real time throughout the tour,” said Mulligan. “I really enjoy helping people understand where their food comes from and being able to tell them what I do on the farm every day.”
Also, WIVB-TV in Buffalo made an appearance at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in Buffalo, N.Y., to highlight the Mulligan virtual farm tour.
“Participating dairy farmers are often surprised at how little effort the tours take on their parts, and always find it to be a positive experience,” said Naczi. “Our staff helps them prepare their talking points prior to the tour, runs the video cameras onsite, and fields the questions from the viewers.”
“I enjoyed doing the virtual farm tour and would definitely do it again in the future,” said Adam Bates, a two-time tour host. “I encourage other farmers to host tours because it’s not a huge time commitment to prepare and this format with just a few people onsite makes it easy to be comfortable.”
“Hosting the farm tour was a great experience and is a really convenient way to show what we do on the farm to a large group of students,” said Ed Facer, who hosted a tour for the first time.
Facer also conducted several media interviews with Harrisburg media prior to the farm tours to garner more interest in the program.
To learn more about the Virtual Farm Tour program, and to watch all three tours, visit American.Dairy.com, and click on “In Schools” and “Virtual Farm Tours.” New tours will be offered in 2022.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing nearly 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com.