Oct. 20 2022 03:25 PM

Bringing the Dairy Farm to Classrooms Nationwide

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

We live in a hyperconnected world where we have access to more information than ever before. Recognizing this shift in how people, especially youth, receive and consume information is pivotal in continuing to reach an emerging generation of consumers who are making their own food consumption decisions earlier in life. Using the latest technology, the Dairy MAX team created an opportunity for people of all ages to visit a dairy farm and introduced Dairy Tour 360 this past June. Through recent collaborations with National Ag in the Classroom, the virtual farm experience will reach students across the country and allow them to see firsthand how dairy farmers care for their animals and the environment.

Dairy Tour 360 gives viewers a 360-degree encounter that combines immersive, interactive virtual reality with an engaging guided tour. Three viewing options were developed for the tour: desktop experience, virtual reality headset, and mobile device. Throughout the tour viewers will feel like they are on the dairy farm – standing in the feed lane, riding the milking carousel or flying over the fields, connecting audiences to farms like never before.

“Dairy MAX understands the importance of consumers seeing firsthand how dairy farmers care for the cows and the environment. A virtual tour is one of the best ways to share the life on the farm with consumers,” said Todd Green, vice president industry image and relations. “The creation of the virtual dairy tour has been key to bringing dairy farms to the homes of consumers, but also allows collaboration with partners like Ag in the Classroom.”

National Ag in the Classroom works with over 80,000 teachers nationwide to incorporate agricultural concepts in their classrooms. The Dairy Tour 360 was recently linked to 14 lessons in the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix. The matrix provides K-12 educators with relevant standards-based instructional resources. The lesson plans and companion resources use agriculture as a context for science, social studies, and nutrition education content.

“We are creating a more informed current, as well as a future consumer so that they understand the industry through science-based information,” said Randy Bernhardt, who oversees the National Ag in the Classroom programs in Colorado and New Mexico. “If we have a more informed consumer, it benefits every dairy farm.”

The pros of a virtual program are accessibility and affordability. Despite a teacher’s allotted time, location or budget, educational experiences such as Dairy Tour 360 allow them to increase awareness and expose students to where the dairy cows live, how they are fed, how the land is used, the milking process, and how the milk ends up at the store.

“Dairy MAX’s purpose is to connect the dairy experience with communities and consumers of all ages. Continued collaborations with partners are key to amplifying checkoff dollars,” said Green.

Check out the tour at DairyTour360.com.