The New York State Fair New York State Fair is over and we successfully delivered 30 calves in the 12 days of the State Fair. (Actually only 29, as one was born the afternoon before the Fair opened during the ribbon cutting ceremony – but that’s Mother Nature.) The Dairy Cattle Birthing Center, organized and hosted by the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC), in cooperation with Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine was a true labor of love for not only this organization but the nearly hundreds of volunteers that gave their time and talents to make this first-time exhibit a resounding success.
Yes – we calved 30 cows over the course of twelve days of the State Fair – all with no major issues. The information and graphics created added tremendous curb-appeal and fodder for conversation. But the interest and conversations that took place with consumers on all topics related to dairy farming stole the show.
Fairgoers came in droves to not only see a calf be born, but to sit (sometimes for hours) and hear farmer, veterinarian, student and industry volunteers talk about our dairy farms. We estimate roughly 60,000 people came through the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, spending at a minimum of 20-30 minutes there.
The exhibit’s theme was “There’s no udder place for the answer. Ask a farmer.” And boy did they! Fairgoers asked hundreds of questions, including why we dock tails, why we separate the calf from the cow, why farms are so big these days, among other legitimate topics. Those issues were all personally addressed, and in every instance, resulted in a better understanding of modern dairy farms and the practices and procedures we follow.
Meredith Leonard, a visitor of the Birthing Center, said, “I think about that whole experience all the time. Not just the birthing, which in itself is always quite extraordinary. What made it much more special were the reflections by all of you farmers about how you got into farming and why you love it, and the heart and soul everyone puts into the keeping of cows, keeping them healthy and happy, and how it provides such a meaningful life for so many families.”
As a result of everyone’s time, resources, expertise and passion, we as New York’s dairy industry, were successful in communicating with consumers that dairy farmers today are good family-oriented people who care for their animals, their land and their local communities, as well as the product we produce.
If you visited the exhibit or volunteered at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center – Thank you! We certainly couldn’t have accomplished any of this without your support. We hope to see you again at the State Fair next year!