In the first 24 hours of airing, 40,000 viewers tuned into the three live 2020 Virtual Farm Tours recently hosted by local dairy farmers and American Dairy Association North East. Viewers also had nearly 4,000 direct comments, questions or engagements.
The tours, viewed by nearly 2,500 classrooms, were hosted by:
- Joy Widerman of JoBo Holsteins, Gettysburg, Pa. – Grades 7-12
- “Farmers like me care for our animals, our workers, our environment and our local communities, and opportunities like these Virtual Farm Tours help me demonstrate just how we do it,” said Widerman.
- Hannah Worden of Will-O-Crest Farm, Clifton Springs, N.Y. – Grades 4-6
- “While we are unable to welcome guests to our farm, we are thrilled to be able to offer our on-farm experience to students virtually,” said Worden.
- Stacey Copenhaver of Talview Dairy, Lebanon, Pa. – Pre-K to Grade 3
- “I really enjoyed hosting the tour because it allowed so many different groups of students to be here ‘on the farm’ virtually, more than we could ever host in person,” said Copenhaver.
“The level of engagement from teachers and students proves that consumers are hungry for knowledge about the dairy industry,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “We’ve learned, especially during the pandemic, that teachers and students are eager for high quality, visually appealing and very interactive educational options, so we’re pleased that we already had this program in place and were able to further build trust in the dairy industry. ”
Schools from Hammond, N.Y., to Annandale, Va., watched the tours. The anonymous evaluations showed overwhelming positive reviews of the program, including:
“Getting to see a real dairy farm with a real dairy farmer in real time was great. I loved that my students could see that women are farmers too!”
“It was a great way to connect urban youth with rural life. The host had the ability to bring dairy farm life to reality even using a virtual program.”
“The farmer was very engaging, and it was clear that she loves her work. We could see the cows were truly cared for because it was live and not pre-produced.”