For National Dairy Month, the University of Maryland Extension (UME) is releasing a new virtual tour of a working dairy farm, giving the public the opportunity to meet and learn from a Maryland farm family. As a natural expansion of the UME annual event, Breakfast on the Farm, the Day on the Farm program now offers the same educational experience in an online format, accessible to everyone.
The public is invited to follow the farm owners, on-farm experts like the herd veterinarian and nutritionist, and UME experts, through a guided tour that demonstrates the birthing and growth cycle of calves to cows, the milking process, animal nutrition and care, and other farming topics like equipment and conservation.
“The pandemic made it impossible to hold the annual event in 2020, and it inspired us to find a way to offer the experience in a more accessible format for the opportunity to see what a working Maryland dairy farm is like,” said Racheal Slattery, Day on the Farm program coordinator. “Now folks can do the tour on their own time, no matter where they live.”
The first Day on the Farm tour introduces the DeBaugh family from Washington County, Md and their fifth generation dairy farm. A virtual map and guided stops takes the public through a video tour of their dairy farm, explaining farm management, facilities, animal husbandry, and punctuated by helpful 4-H youth who explain difficult scientific terms and concepts.
“This virtual tour is a perfect complement for school and youth groups learning about Maryland agriculture,” Slattery said. “Our goal with this program is to not only create an interesting and fun video tour, but also have it be educational and informative, while allowing kids to experience a real Maryland farm.”
Sponsors for the Day on the Farm program include Frederick County Farm Bureau, MD Dairy Industry Association, Inc., Washington County Farm Bureau, Catoctin Soil Conservation District, Dairy Farmers of America, Frederick Soil Conservation District, Interstate Batteries (Potomac Valley Distribution, Inc.), Maryland Agriculture Council, Inc., Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarians, P.A., Washington County Soil Conservation District, Clopper Michael Unit #10 Auxiliary, Farm Credit, Kemin Animal Health and Nutrition, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Lancaster Farming, Martin's Elevator, Inc, Renaissance Nutrition, Inc., Thomas, Bennett & Hunter, Inc., Willard Agri-Service of Frederick, and Willard Agri-Service of Mt. Airy.