With remote and hybrid learning becoming the norm many kids are missing the excitement of in-person field trips. Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) decided to create a cure for the “Zoom fatigue” facing countless kids and teachers. Hundreds of students across the country have been treated to surprise virtual field trips when local dairy farmers interrupted their classes with very special guests – their cows!

Family farmers who supply milk to local DFA dairy brands, such as Kemps, and their cows have been welcomed with cheers from the students as each farmer taught how the milk makes it from their farms onto families’ tables.

“It was priceless to see the kid’s reactions as they noticed a not-so-familiar face during our classroom Meet,” said Tricia Casey, a science teacher at Bryn Mawr Elementary School in downtown Minneapolis.

Unbeknownst to Casey’s kindergarten and first-grade students, local dairy farmer Charles Krause and his cow popped into the virtual classroom. “They went from bouncing around with excitement to hyper-engaged as they peppered Mr. Krause with questions,” Casey added.

“Milk from my farm travels less than 50 miles to the Kemps processing plant in Minneapolis,” said Krause. “Dairy milk was a farm-to-table food long before farm-to-table was trendy, and it’s fun to show kids exactly where their next glass comes from.” 

Krause, along with family farmers across the Midwest, taught students a little cow biology, discussed the nutritional benefits of simple, wholesome milk and gave students an overview of a cow’s typical day on the farm. Students also learned the steps involved in getting milk ready for drinking, and how it’s transported from the farm to local stores. 

“As kids continue to adjust to new ways of learning, we wanted to provide local students with a fun, educational experience that they wouldn’t get in a regular classroom,” said Rachel Kyllo, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Innovation, DFA Dairy Brands. “Making the ‘farm-to-table’ concept relevant for younger generations through the dairy milk they know and love helps spread awareness of the sustainability and local benefits associated with knowing who produces your food.”

On average, milk travels just 315 miles from the farm to a local store. It goes through strict controls to ensure its quality, purity and great taste. Dairy farmers and companies are often local small-business owners, parents, school supporters, and active members of community organizations.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: Megumi Nachev on Unsplash

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