Discover Dairy’s “Adopt a Cow” program, which impacted more than 1.6 million students worldwide last year, is a year-long, interactive learning opportunity that gives students an inside look at dairy farms in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Students participate in exciting activities featuring the calves on the farm and the dairy farmers who manage the operation. The Adopt a Cow program will open for enrollment for the 2021-22 school year beginning August 1.
“At the heart of the Adopt a Cow program is the ability for students to watch a baby calf grow in front of their eyes throughout the school year. We are excited to welcome more teachers to the program this school year as well as classrooms that have participated in previous years,” said Brittany Snyder, Dairy Education Program Manager for the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “It’s a memorable experience that allows students to build connections to their health, where their food comes from, the dairy farms in their community, and so much more.”
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 immersive, hands-on learning activities and free curriculum provided by Discover Dairy, students gain a deeper understanding of the dairy industry and where their food comes from. Several of the lessons in the curriculum follow Common CORE standards in Math, Reading, and Science.
“We decided to be a host farm for the Adopt a Cow program because we believe in the importance of our community and consumers understanding where their milk comes from,” said Walt Moore of Walmoore Holsteins Inc. in Chester County, Pennsylvania. “Since less than 2 percent of the United States population is actively involved in farming, we believe it is critical for us to share the life of a calf and cow on our farm. Dairy farmers have a great story to share with the public, and this is a great way to get that story out there.”
The Adopt a Cow program also offers live virtual chats and farm tours. These chats allow students to talk directly with a dairy farmer, meet their calves, tour the farm, and ask questions about milk production.
“This program helped us celebrate our rural location and learn more about our community. It was great to include my distance learners as well, and the calf photo and video updates that we received were very easy to share digitally. We thoroughly enjoyed this program, and we even had a page about it in our yearbook,” said Abby Hennington, a visual arts teacher at a middle school near Atlanta, Georgia.
Last year, more than 71,000 elementary and middle school classrooms, home school families, scout troops, senior living facilities, library groups, and other organizations participated in the program. Classrooms from all 50 states participated along with a total of 45 countries. Schools from both rural and urban areas can enroll, bringing dairy farming to life for students of all ages and demographics.
After registering for the Adopt a Cow program, teachers will receive an introductory update in the fall with details about their calf. Classrooms will receive bi-monthly updates, including suggestions on components of the Discover Dairy curriculum that teachers can incorporate into their virtual or in-person lesson plans.
The sign-up period opens on August 1 and closes on September 15, 2021. To enroll in the Adopt a Cow program, visit the Discovery Dairy website.