• 73°

Adopt a Cow program open for enrollment until Sept. 15

MADISON – Discover Dairy’s “Adopt a Cow” program opened for enrollment for the 2021-22 school on Aug. 1.

The free 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 a dairy farm in the United States, per a press release from the organization.

Students participate in exciting activities featuring the calves on the farm and the dairy farmers who manage the operation.

Discover Dairy is an educational series managed by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania in partnership with the Dairy Alliance, a nonprofit funded by dairy farm families of the Southeast.

The Dairy Alliance had eight dairy farms participate in the program last year reaching over 25,000 classrooms with over 200,000 students across Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Each classroom that enrolls in the Adopt a Cow program is paired with a calf from a dairy farm in their state.  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. 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 participated in the Adopt a Cow program for the first-time last year. We believe it’s very important to share our farm experience with consumers,” said Katelin Benkoski of Big Sandy Creek Dairy in Madison.

“We want to make sure students know where their food comes from and explain why we do what we do.”

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 in the program 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.

“This program helped us celebrate our rural location and learn more about our community,” said Abby Hennington, a visual arts teacher at a middle school near Atlanta, Georgia.

“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 this year.”

After registering for the Adopt a Cow program, teachers will receive an introductory update in the fall with details about their calf and host farm. 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 closes on September 15, 2021.  To enroll in the Adopt a Cow program, visit www.discoverdairy.com/adopt or contact the Dairy Excellence Foundation at 717-346-0849 for more information.

The Dairy Alliance, a non-profit, works with schools, health professionals, retailers, dairy processors and the public to promote dairy foods.