It’s a pretty fantastic day at Ocheda Dairy — we are having 2 tour groups. The photos below are from the tour this morning.
I never tire of seeing a school bus pull up to our farm. There is so much misinformation about farming out there, and when I have the opportunity to show kids and parents around our farm and let them ask questions…..well, that is just going to be a wonderful time.
This morning, I sent out a text message to some of our main employees to let them know little people would be touring. Just a small safety measure. Then, I showed up 30 minutes early to quickly scrub the break room floors (our employees always need breaks and don’t usually take their boots off) and unload my car. But that is it. I am so proud that we can simply open our doors and say, “Welcome!”. What the tour group sees is exactly what goes on everyday.
So, what did they see?
We started in the barn looking at a group of heifers that will all have their first calf in the next 3 months. Someone asked me if they were all females. Yes!! Nothing we can do to convince a male to give us milk. Then, the question about how they could possibly get pregnant. The language barrier made it interesting to explain artificial insemination, to say the least! I tried to keep it as simple as possible by saying there are bull farms that collect semen, we buy small straws of it, and then inseminate the cow with a pipette when she is at the proper time in her cycle. I am hopeful the message got across correctly!
Currently at the dairy, we have some extra space. It worked out so nicely for the tour. I told the kids we were going to pretend to be cows and we walked into the one new pen that hasn’t had any cows in it yet. It makes it easier to explain how the cows drink water and lay in the stalls when they are standing right next to the water trough or jumping in the sand of the stall.
Next, we checked out the calf pen. The kids loved this part. The 6 calves in the pen were 0-2 days old. One was so new it was still a bit wet. A teacher asked me if the calves get cold, and I was happy to tell her that there is heat under the floor for our calves. I apologize that the photo is not better. Kids were excited and swarming all around me!
Then, we headed to the milking parlor. Whenever I give a tour, the reaction to this part is pure amazement. Honestly, people would watch and stare for hours if I let them.
We finished up by heading to the break room. The kids washed their hands while I told them the importance of consuming 3 servings of dairy a day to build strong bodies. We had samples of milk, yogurt and cheese to help kids make the connection of “farm to fork”.
In other news on the farm, corn planting started on Tuesday. Joe finished up 80 acres before it started sprinkling rain that night. It is still raining now, so the earliest to get back at it would possibly be Saturday. It is getting late and farmers everywhere around here are getting pretty anxious. So, while we are appreciative of the rain, we can’t wait for the wheels to start rolling again.