The Dairy Cow Birthing Center was honored once again by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). Announced this week at IAFE’s annual convention in Las Vegas, the unique and free exhibit that showcases the birth of baby calves at the New York State Fair, earned second place honors in the competition called “Special or Specific Agricultural Educational Event, Exhibit, or Program for the Fairgoing Public.”
The birthing center has been a runaway success in its first two years at the New York State Fair, drawing thousands of people to witness 36 “udder miracles” over the course of 12 days. This year, the exhibit was physically larger and accommodated more people. It also featured over 300 dairy industry volunteers who interacted with the public, and utilized a unique hashtag, #uddermiracles, which was used on social media outlets and generated over 1.65 million online impressions.
Other elements of the exhibit that proved popular with fairgoers this year were:
• A text messaging service where fairgoers could sign up to receive a text alert that a calf was about to be born so that they could come back to the exhibit to witness an “udder miracle”, of which 1,700 fairgoers utilized.
• A mechanical back scratcher was installed to showcase one of the innovative ways farmers are working to improve the comfort of their cows.
• Three large display screens used to provide an up-close viewing of the calving pen, as well as the opportunity to watch a virtual farm tour of each of the six host farms, produced specifically for the exhibit so that fairgoers could see where the cows came from and learn more about the dairy farmer.
• We experienced several firsts, including our first ever c-section on a cow that was carrying a deformed stillborn and our first set of twins born at the exhibit. Both of these occurrences brought additional interest and opportunities to educate the public.
• Two heifers that were born at the State Fair last year where brought back to show their growth and maturity and to celebrate their first birthday at the fair. Fairgoers joined in the celebration by singing Happy Birthday in “moo”.
“There’s something about showcasing 36 real-life births of dairy cows at the Great New York State Fair that is an “udder miracle” in itself, but is a unique and educational experience for fairgoers to learn more about New York’s ever evolving dairy industry that we are pleased to offer and thrilled to have recognized by IAFE,” said Jessica Ziehm, Executive Director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition and organizer of the exhibit.
“The Great New York State Fair has executed a remarkable resurgence, satisfying a larger audience while building on its main focus of promoting the best of New York agriculture. These awards, for agricultural programs as well as for marketing the Fair, reflect an organization on the upswing. We believe the best is yet to come,” said Richard A. Ball, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture.
This is the second award presented for the Dairy Cow Birthing Center from IAFE, and is one of 17 awards the New York State Fair received this week from fair association, which included two first place, eight second place, and seven third place awards. For a complete accounting of the Fair’s awards, please visit the New York State Fair website.