Adopt a Cow program connects 28,000 Wisconsin children to local cows

Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
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The Adopt a Cow program, launched by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Discover Dairy, took ten calves to visit 1,640 Wisconsin classrooms to tell their stories to kids.

These classrooms registered to "adopt" a cow from a local dairy farm as their class mascot last year. From November to April, the farms updated each class with photos and info on the calf's life at the farm. The kids also learned supplemental ag lessons about where food comes from.

"Our initial goal was to reach 75 classrooms or about 1,500 students," said Karen Doster, DFW director of youth and school programs. "But so many schools and educators were interested in learning the real story of where dairy comes from, the program expanded to reach 1,640 classrooms and more than 28,000 students."

A press release said the intent of the program was to build a bridge of trust and grow appreciation for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Through virtual "visits" to the farm, each classroom learned what life on a dairy farm is like as well as how milk is produced and how animals are taken care of.

Synergy Family Dairy in Pulaski, Roden Echo Valley Farm near West Bend and Creamery Creek Holsteins of Bangor were the first Wisconsin dairy farms to participate in the program. Their calves Sweetie, Cookie, Ruby, Jemma, Petunia, Penny, Peanut, Sharlamagne, Seroogy and Dorito were all adopted by the classrooms.

"Being from Wisconsin we know all about farming, but it’s getting sparse in our area due to subdivisions," said a suburban fifth-grade teacher. "I was so lucky to be able to talk about farming to my class and it was because of Seroogy."

"It’s been fantastic to see educators and students develop a relationship with a farm," Doster said. "And it’s great for farmers because this is a wonderful opportunity to share the remarkable story of their farm."

The Adopt a Cow program first began in Pennsylvania several years ago and has since expanded to all 50 states. More than 1 million students were reached through the 2020-21 program run.