Do you remember going on a field trip in elementary school? Getting out of the normal routine, the smell of fresh air and seeing something new? Do you remember how excited you were?

Dairy farm tours and open houses are a modern-day field trip to learn how dairy farmers take care of their cows, produce milk and care for the land and environment. In addition, dairy tours are a great way to meet farmers. Who better to educate and engage in conversations to highlight different aspects of dairy farming?

When you experience an educational tour on an operating dairy farm, you may get a chance to reassess your opinion and increase your trust in how these dairy farmers care for their animals. This is especially true for those who have concerns about how food is produced on modern farms. By visiting a modern dairy farm, you are provided with an experience that you can’t get in the newspaper or online. The opportunity to openly walk on a dairy farm, talk to farmers, employees and others involved in the dairy industry is a unique experience. Learn for yourself steps that farmers take in caring for their animals and see and hear about the advantages of modern dairy farming. This unique field trip experience will help you better understand how your food is produced and provide a transparent look at modern agriculture.

Take the time to ask questions and expose your kids to careers in agriculture. Enjoy the quiet. Interact with the animals!

Engaging with farmers helps to maintain transparency on health benefits and farm practices. This is also important as we look at the benefits of dairy products. We can’t enjoy the benefits of cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream unless we have people who are helping raise cows and produce dairy products. So, how about a modern-day field trip for the whole family? On March 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the University of Florida Dairy Unit is opening their doors at 13515 NW County Road 237 in Alachua for the Dairy Family Day. This is a great opportunity to learn more about dairy farming and to interact with people involved in the dairy industry. Admission is free. For more information, visit facebook.com/FamilyDayattheDairyFarm. I hope to see you there!

Izabella Toledo is a Regional Specialized Agent with UF/IFAS Extension in Dairy. UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution. For more information on dairies or Dairy Family Day contact her at 352-284-9395.

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