A few days ago I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at Mount Logan Middle School in Miss Myers 7th and 8th grade classes (five class periods). This was an interesting and fun experience for me. I was asked to talk to the kids about dairy farming, and why I chose this as my career. I spoke about how I first got started dairying and what I like about being a dairy farmer. I showed some videos that Kyle and Rachel had made about our dairy and how milk gets from the farm to their fridge. I spoke about all the different people and jobs that help me with my dairy. I also spoke about how cows can take things that are basically garbage such as Cotton Seed, Beet Pulp, and Distillers Grain, and turn them into milk. Milk can then be made into such delicious products as ice cream, cheese and yogurt. I was somewhat surprised how interested the students seemed. When I finished my presentation I always asked for questions, and I always received several questions, some strange ones, but some good ones as well. Here are some of the questions that I was asked;
- Have you ever been kicked by a cow?
- Have you ever been bitten by a cow?
- Do you ever get to go on vacation?
- Do you ever eat any of your cows?
- Do you ever ride any of your cows?
- How do you wake up so early every morning?
- Have you ever stepped in cow poop?
I realized very quickly that these kids had no idea what a dairy was really like, and I found that very few of them had ever been on a dairy. They were interested in what I was telling and showing them, because it was so foreign to them. They loved the videos of my kids feeding calves.
One girl seemed very skeptical at first and asked a couple questions about the way we treat our cows. I answered her questions, and she seemed pacified for a minute. Somehow I started talking about the dogs that are on the dairy, both mine and the neighbors, and this girl warmed right up. She obviously loves dogs and wanted to know how we use our dogs and how they interact with the cows. After class she came up to me and wanted to talk more about my dog and was smiling and friendly as she headed for her next class.
This was my first time speaking to a school class about my dairy, but hopefully it won’t be the last. There was nothing difficult or scary about my experience. I had a fun time, even though it took my away from the dairy for a day I believe that these students will have a better understanding of the dairy farms in our county and what it takes to produce the dairy products that they and their families eat. Hopefully they will share some of what they learned with their families and friends.
I want to thank Kristi Spence and Ray Butters with the Utah Dairy Council for asking me to do this and for helping with the presentation.