April 19 2016 12:36 AM

Our little boy's passion made me realize the weight we carry as advocates and educators of our industry.

Farm tour

Our local preschool class did a fun project this year where all the kids picked a topic and did a presentation on their passion. That topic then became the theme of the week's regular learning.

It was fun to see the array of choices that so closely portrayed each child's personality. Monster trucks, scuba diving, art, rainbows, and even one little girl's daddy were subjects picked by youngsters. My Littler Farmer's (our youngest son) choice melted this farm mama's heart - his cows.

To top off Littler Farmer's presentation, we invited the entire class and parents out for a tour of our farm. This created a great educational opportunity for both children and adults, as our Littler Farmer attends a school in town where none of the other kids really have any farming background. So we kept the discussion quick-paced for the preschoolers' attention span and talked about the basics. Cow care and nutrition, milking, and, everyone's favorite, baby calves. The questions and curiosity were lots of fun.

The teachers and parents learned just as much from the tour covering just the basics. It made me realize how awesome it would be to have every child be able to step foot on a dairy farm. If we could lay that foundation for the basic understanding of our industry at a young age, I think we could find that consumer gap shrinking.

Our little boy's passion also made me realize the weight we all carry as advocates and educators of our industry. That even the youngest of us sharing our love for our cows helps to bring understanding and bridge that gap.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and is in the process of transitioning to a robotic milking system.