For the last few years, Stacey Nolt and Karen (Droddy) Young of Red Knob Farm in Peach Bottom have been visiting Solanco elementary schools to talk about cows and how milk is produced during National Agricultural Week (March 15-25).
To kick off National Ag Day on Monday, Nolt and Young visited Clermont Elementary School for the first time since they started doing the program two years ago.
"How many of you were ever on a farm before?" Young asked the students who gathered on the carpet in front of her to listen to the presentation. Only a few children raised their hands.
After watching an animated video about where milk comes from that was narrated by a cartoon cow named Ms. Moo, the students listened intently and watched as Nolt and Young talked about the dairy farm they work on and what goes on there.
According to the video, there are more than 9 million dairy cows in the United States and an average cow makes 25 pounds of milk two times each day. Cows are able to make milk because they eat the corn that is ground into corn silage. The milk is turned into cheese, yogurt and ice cream.
In the video Ms. Moo told the students that children need between three to four servings of milk each day.
Nolt, whose father Matt is one of the partners who owns the family-run dairy farm on Balance Meeting Road in Peach Bottom, handed out round black and white "Got Milk?" stickers to the children who stuck them on their shirts.
Young, a 2000 Solanco High School graduate who has worked as administrative assistant for Red Knob Farm for a little more than two years, showed the students pictures of what the farm looks like as she told them what goes on on a dairy farm.
As she showed them a photo of baby calves, Young told the students that after they're born they go to live in a springer barn. There are 60 cows in the barn at a time who are about to give birth.
"We feed them two bottles of milk after they're born, clean their belly button with iodine and take them to the greenhouse," Young explained. "There are 100 calves in the greenhouse and they'll stay there until they're 3 months old."
"We have two or three calves born everyday on our farm," said Nolt, who added that after they learn to drink milk, they start drinking water and eating grain. "We milk over 800 cows twice everyday."
The children watched as Young put on a black apron, plastic gloves and got out her towel to show them what she wears when she cleans the cow's udders using iodine, which is dark red and can stain.
"There are 22 cows being milked at a time and each cow takes roughly three to five minutes to milk," she said. After that, the udders of each cow must be cleaned using the iodine.
Young showed the students the automatic milker that is hooked up to the cows' teats which helps them pump the milk.
The children each got to dump different baggies filled with vitamin powder that the cows need, medicine, and feed into a large bin to see what they eat.
"We make rye in the spring and corn in the fall," Nolt said. The corn is stored in a trench and soy meal and soy hulls are stored in commodity bins.
"We get our hay from South Dakota," said Nolt, who added that the weather there is more conducive to growing hay.
There are 21 full-time employees who work at Red Knob Farm. Young is married to Jason Young, who is maintenance and field manager and is Nolt's cousin.
Young, who lives in Nottingham, has been speaking to students about cows and milk for the past three or four years, ever since she was an early childhood education major in college.
To learn about some of the products made from milk, the Clermont students received cartons of Turkey Hill chocolate milk and Land O'Lakes cheddar cheese.