Leaves are turning, pumpkin spice is back, school is in session, … yes, Fall is in the air. The rush of back to school amidst the ‘new normal’ leaves many teachers looking for safe and educational field trips for their students.
Field trips give students an opportunity to learn beyond the walls of their classrooms and engage all their senses. Farm tours give them opportunities to see and learn about future career opportunities in agriculture, discover how their food is produced and meet local farmers.
The pandemic has certainly changed field trips, but opportunities are still available for students and teachers. A field trip to a local dairy farm includes a lot of time outside, which provides fresh air and a safe way to explore during a global pandemic.
Dairy farm tours can be offered through the classroom, co-op, learning pod, or scout troop. The Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington even offer an opportunity to earn a dairy patch through a dairy field trip!
There are so many ways to discover dairy … which will you choose?
In-Person Dairy Farm Tours
Dairy farm tours offer an opportunity for students to be in-person, and there is plenty of space outdoors to socially distance as students learn how milk gets from the farm to their local grocery stores. They are often able to pet [baby] calves, watch how the farmer cares for his or her animals and see the cows that produce the milk that then becomes their favorite dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.
For information on Oregon dairy farms that are currently offering free in-person tours, simply fill out the form here.
Virtual Dairy Farm Tours
Classrooms unable to travel also have opportunities to learn directly from the farmer through virtual tours. Virtual tours can be catered to the classroom’s specific learning needs and are available live or pre-recorded.
Want to learn about calf care or cow nutrition? Many of these tours have already been recorded and specific topics can be requested. Oregon dairy farms work closely with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom to create an enriching virtual tour experience which could also include an inquiry box filled with items they would discover on the farm. This give the students an opportunity to touch and smell and see what the farmer is showing them on the screen.
For free pre-recorded virtual tours, visit Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom’s virtual tour resource.
Dairy Presentations from a Dairy Princess Ambassador
The Oregon Dairy Women offer a unique opportunity for students to learn about dairy through their Dairy Princess Ambassador Program. This program provides free 20 to 30-minute educational presentations for students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 from county and state Dairy Princess Ambassadors. They offer educational resources for a variety of virtual activities that can be incorporated into the classroom.
- Milk—The journey from farm to table
- Dairy farmers and the environment
- Dairy technology throughout time
- Stakeholders in the dairy industry.
For more information on the Dairy Princess Ambassador Program and request a classroom presentation, click here.
Adopt a Farmer
Through Oregon Ag Link, classrooms can “Adopt a Farmer” for the school year. In addition to a field trip, the farmer will visit the classroom to engage students in the science behind farming.
For more information, email Oregon Aglink.
Adopt A Cow
Does your classroom need a mascot? Consider adopting a cow for the school year. Through this free program, you will receive communications and photos from a farmer to educate your students about the life and care of your dairy cow. Children will learn her name, birthday and where she lives in addition to receiving activity sheets to further their learning.
For more information on the Adopt-A-Cow program, click here.