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Adopt a Cow program brings ag into the classroom

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Introducing agriculture into the classroom is a fun way to highlight the importance of the industry to the next generation. Discover Dairy’s Adopt a Cow program is a year-long, interactive learning opportunity. This free program, which has impacted more than 800,000 students worldwide, gives students an inside look at a dairy farm in the United States. Students participate in exciting activities featuring the calves on the farm and the dairy farmers who manage the operation. 

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.

“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, so please consider sharing the program with individuals in your community,” 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.”

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.

“We’ve participated in the Adopt a Cow program for a couple of years now. We believe it’s very important to share our farm experience with consumers,” said Katie Sattazahn of Zahncroft Dairy in Berks County, Pennsylvania. “We want to make sure students know where their food comes from and explain why we do what we do. We like sharing the goodness of the highly nutritious product we produce and showing students what really happens on a farm.”

Last year, more than 30,000 elementary and middle school classrooms, home school families, scout troops, library groups, and other organizations participated in the program. Classrooms from all 50 states participated in the program along with a total of 38 countries. Schools from both rural and urban areas can enroll, bringing dairy farming to life for students of all ages and demographics.

“Our kids drink about 6,400 ounces of milk a day. To me, that’s pretty impressive. For a child to know where it comes from, that makes them appreciate it and teaches them the importance of drinking milk. I’ve had a lot of support at my school to make this all happen, and we plan on doing many more Adopt a Cow activities,” said Apache Smothers, an elementary school lunch-room manager in Rainbow City, Alabama and a past Adopt a Cow participant.

Teachers who enroll in the Adopt a Cow program 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 May 1 and closes on September 15, 2022. To enroll in the Adopt a Cow program, visit their website.

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