The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) is seeking volunteers for its Dairy Cow Birthing Center that will debut at the 2013 New York State Fair in Syracuse, August 22 – September 2, 2103. The Birthing Center is a new project that will provide a unique opportunity for the public to witness a cow giving birth and to learn more about New York’s dairy farms.

“The new Birthing Center at the State Fair is expected to attract tens of thousands of fairgoers daily, who will have lots of questions about cow care, milk safety and more,” said Jessica Ziehm, Executive Director of NYAAC. “To ensure all the questions are answered properly, we are calling on the experts – dairy farmers, herdsmen, veterinarians, nutritionists, and industry representatives to volunteer their time and to share their knowledge with the public at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center. We hope that you will consider joining us!”

Personal conversations between farmers and consumers have proven to be one of the most effective forms of education. Therefore, NYAAC is seeking at least four dairy farmers or industry representatives to volunteer time at the Dairy Cow Birthing Center everyday of the State Fair. NYAAC will have a station set up inside the tent that says, “There’s No Udder Place for the Answer! Ask a Farmer.” This station will serve as the base for farmer and industry volunteers to answer questions. It’s also a great opportunity to talk with those visiting the exhibit about their own operation or experiences in an effort to correct any misconceptions and enhance the overall awareness of dairy farms in New York State.

The exhibit will feature six close-up cows from local dairy farms, three of which will calve daily. Veterinarians will be on hand to assist with the births and to explain the process to the public. Educational exhibits and messages on dairy farming will also occupy the tent, providing details on how cows are cared for, the recycling efforts on dairy farms, and the impact and contributions dairy farms make to the state and local communities. The Dairy Cow Birthing Center will be located between Gates 6 & 10, adjacent to the FFA and Beef Barn at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, August 22 – September 2, 2103.

To fulfill this initiative, NYAAC is partnering with the New York College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University that will oversee the birthing process and animal care. The New York Corn and Soybean Growers graciously provided the seed money through the soybean checkoff to initiate the Dairy Cow Birthing Center. Farm Credit East, Cargill Animal Nutrition, and others have generously supported the exhibit as well.

If you wish to volunteer your time at the State Fair or care to support this initiative in another way, please contact Jessica Ziehm with NYAAC at jaz67@cornell.edu or at 518-527-3949.

Please check NYAAC’s website at www.nyanimalag.org for regular updates about the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, along with other dairy farm advocacy efforts taking place around the state. NYAAC is a farmer founded and funded organization that strives to enhance the public’s understanding of and appreciation for animal agriculture and modern farm practices by engaging the public in conversations about animal agriculture and empowering farmers to tell their story firsthand.