Skip to main content

Kids and Kows!

The last few weeks I feel like I have been here, there and everywhere, but I have enjoyed myself at each stop along the way! Usually after the county fair is over and done with, summer starts to slow down a little, but not in my case. I have the opportunity to be involved with a lot of different things this summer with Cooperative Extension and I am having a blast at each thing!

The Robot Farm Tour that I spent the summer planning took place on July 20th. This was a daytime event open to other dairy producers and businessmen alike. There were two different farms that we toured throughout the day and between the two, there were probably a dozen or so attendees at the event. In the morning, the tour began at a family farm who has been using robots for only about 4 months. We had the farmers on site to talk about their operation, along with their nutritionist and a representative who does a lot of the major work in building and implementing the robots at the farm. The event was greatly publicized too, which was great. A local news station came to check it out, as well as a writer from Lancaster Farming Newspaper. Here is the link from the news station:

Below is the other link, this one is from Lancaster Farming:

After breaking for lunch and traveling to the next site, we had a similar itinerary at the second farm on the tour. After learning and touring the veteran operation, who has been using robots for about seven years, it was time to pack up and call it a day. I think it was really helpful to have a workshop/tour on just exactly how technology is being incorporated in the dairy industry more and more and showing other producers what the future may look like, especially for smaller-scaled farms. Being the first event that I have really ever had to solely coordinate, I would say it was a pretty successful day!

Throughout the summer, there are many local towns who have summer recreation programs for the kids in the neighborhood to attend. Though it can be difficult to schedule, 4H in Cortland County always tries to make a few stops at a couple different ones in the area. A couple of weeks ago, I went to one of the local recreations and did an activity on soil. It was one of the few days where the sun was shining, so the kids were really excited to be outside. I taught them about the different soil particles and layers by having soil for them to put into a plastic bottle and adding water. After time goes by, the particles settle by size and the distinct layers (sand, silt and clay) are apparent. They got to take their experiments home with them, too, so I think they were pretty happy about that, as well.

At the beginning of the week, Betsy, the area dairy specialist, and I put data loggers on at our fourth tiestall for the ongoing study. That leaves just one more. We have ran into a couple of problems throughout our study, but it is our first time with this type of research, so I guess you learn as you go. We seem to lose about one logger per farm that we do for various of reasons. If they fall off when the cows go out to pasture, there is a lot of ground covered, so they are not always retrieved. Also, if they fall into the gutter and then it is emptied into the manure spreader, well we just assume that it probably is not in one piece anymore! We had a couple of extra to start off, so that is a positive! I enjoy going to each of the farms to do this study because you find different things at each farm, even if they are all tiestalls. One of the most interesting findings to me is how the stall measurements differ, not only just from barn to barn, but sometimes even on the same farm! For example, you can tell which barns were built when industry standards were different and where improvements have been made on any given farm. It is almost like using a lens to look back on history. We have one more farm to do and it will be neat to see what the concluding results are at the end.

Yesterday, I had another opportunity to do a youth program. This program was with migrant youth from the area, whose parents are involved with the agriculture industry one way or another. This particular part of the program is a three-day event for the youth to get out and about and exposed to different things that they may not get the opportunity to otherwise. We were at a site that had a pond and trees and such. I taught them a similar program as before about soil, but incorporated the water and aqua life into the lesson. We also learned about the different plants and insects. The youth really did learn a lot about their surroundings and I would definitely say it was a productive day.

Whether I was working with kids or cows, the last couple of weeks have been fun and productive all at the same time. I cannot believe that the semester starts in just over two weeks and how fast this summer has flown by!

Skip to toolbar