With more than 51,000 classrooms and homes signed up for Discover Dairy’s “Adopt a Cow” program this school year, the Dairy Excellence Foundation is seeking the dairy industry’s support to sustain the growth of the program, which gives students and families a firsthand look at dairy farming. The program is free for classrooms that register in order to expose as many students as possible to local agriculture and dairy farming practices. In the first month the program has been open, it has grown by more than 1,500 percent compared to last year. It is expected to impact more than 1.2 million students across the nation.
“The interest in this year’s Adopt a Cow program has far exceeded our expectations, and registrations continue to increase by the hour. To help us sustain this growth and continue to keep registration open so as many students as possible can learn about dairy, we are calling on the dairy industry to come together and support this movement. We all play a role in educating the next generation,” said Brittany Snyder, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “Whether you can give financially, or are interested in finding ways to share your knowledge with this year’s students, this is an ideal opportunity to educate consumers and build the future of dairy.”
More than 2,000 classrooms, home-school groups, and virtual learners from Pennsylvania have signed up for the 2020-21 Adopt a Cow program. Outside the state, classrooms from each of the remaining 49 states have registered, and the program has begun to make an international impact. Classrooms from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, and more have signed up to participate in the program.
“This is an immersive, highly engaging program that gives students a chance to talk directly with dairy farmers — many from Pennsylvania — and learn how the dairy industry cares for its animals, land, and environment,” Snyder shared. “We can’t build on this momentum without the dairy industry’s support. We appreciate any support you can give to help us successfully educate this growing volume of students over the long term. In many cases, once teachers and students complete the Adopt a Cow program, they are eager to expand on their dairy knowledge and often enroll in additional Discover Dairy programs.”
Each classroom that enrolls in the Adopt a Cow program is paired with a calf from a dairy farm. Teachers and students receive photos, video updates, and activity sheets throughout the school year that allow them to watch their calf grow. Through interactive, hands-on learning activities, students gain a deeper understanding of the dairy industry and where their food comes from. The program also offers live virtual chats and farm tours.
“The Adopt a Cow program gave my students a jumpstart on learning about agriculture. They have to know food doesn’t get produced out of midair. It takes a lot of work from the farmer to produce good quality, healthy food,” said Becky Kleinfelter, an elementary teacher in Eastern Lebanon County School District, Pennsylvania who participated in the program last school year. “It was really nice having the lesson plans laid out and focused on vocabulary, so I could be sure I was teaching students the correct terms to use when they’re speaking about farms and different animals.”
To make a donation or find ways you can support the Adopt a Cow program, contact Katie Waite at [email protected] or call 717-346-0849. You can also visit their website to donate. Any support received will make an immediate impact on the more than 51,000 classrooms that have already signed up.
Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with American Dairy Association North East, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Midwest Dairy, and The Dairy Alliance.