When a fourth-generation farmer in Ohio opened the doors of the family dairy to the public, she did it with a purpose.
Brenda Hastings, who
grew up in the dairy farm industry, said she is passionate about educating the
public concerning agriculture, and dairy production in particular, so she opened the
gates to the dairy five years ago, according to an article on the American Farm Bureau Federation's website. Since that time, the family’s 550- Holstein
operation has welcomed tours, from kindergarten field trips
to senior tours, to her family farm.
While she’s always enjoyed talking to people about her farm,
she now has an outlet to educate the public while trying to correct some
serious misconceptions that people have about farming and ranching, the article said. Her idea of offering tours was based in
part on her desire to set the record straight and to offset a
falling profit margin in the dairy industry.
Tourists at Hastings Dairy get to see the free
stall environment the well-cared for cows enjoy. According to Hastings,
she is often told by visitors how surprised they are to see the clean and quiet
operation. “We clean multiple times a day,” she said in the article, “and the cows are so
quiet because all their needs are met.”
Inclusion of antibiotics in milk is also a concern for many
in today’s society where an emphasis is often placed on all natural, organic ingredients. Hastings details the processes
the farm uses to ensure that none of the milk from their operation contains
antibiotics. Although the farm primarily supplies milk for cheese production,
they have added a small bottling facility since the onset of the tours so that
visitor can purchase half-gallon and pint containers to take home, the article said. The fresh
milk is also sold at almost two dozen local stores.
Visitors get a guided tour of the milking parlor, the
opportunity to play on a farm-themed outdoor playground, ride pedal tractors
and play games like corn hole and ring toss. There is also an opportunity to
get close to and pet young calves as well as riding the “Chugga Chugga Moo
Train,” a special tractor-pulled ride for the dairy’s youngest visitors, the article said.
Organizations in this story
American Farm Bureau Federation 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20024
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