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Brockville’s Amazing Family Adventure goes farming
March 22, 2013

Over 100 individuals, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents toured the Donnaville Holsteins in Lyn with the assistance of the Leeds County Dairy Producers last week.

This 4-H farm, owned by Richard and Susanne Shane are used to having school students and other groups visit, so they are familiar with farm tours.

According to dairy producer Kelvin Kerr, the Brockville and Area YMCA had contacted the Leeds County Dairy Producers last year to consider an event of this type. Unfortunately it was too late to organize for the March Break, so it was considered for this year.

“We agreed to do it this year,” said Kerr. “One of the reasons why we agreed to do this is because there is a generation out there that does not have a clue (about farming). There’s a disconnect between rural and urban and we want to reconnect. That’s what is driving us to do this. We hope that we can do this on an annual basis.”

Kerr mentioned that there are 81 dairy producers in Leeds County who all strive to have the best quality product.

“Canadian milk is one of the better quality milks in the world,” indicated Kerr. “We are proud of that and we use that Blue Cow logo to promote that fact.”

The plan for this morning tour was to break into small groups with a leader to walk around the barn and milkhouse to explain the dairy farming process.

“We’ll be going into the milkhouse to show how milk is stored,” said Kerr. “The milk truck is supposed to be coming today and we are hoping they come while everyone is here which will give them an idea how it is picked up.”

Kerr also indicated that the group would be going into the barn to see the cows, how the cows are milked, how they are feed, how the manure system operates and the calves.

“We have some treats to give away at the end,” added Kerr. “We have chocolate milk, cheese strings and we are promoting our Blue Cow logo which represents 100 per cent Canadian milk. The Blue Cow logo is seen on packages of dairy products. We also have hats and ice cream scoops with the logo as give aways for the kids.”

As for the Shane family they had all hands on deck and were welcoming people as they walked through the barn door.

Thirteen year old twins Sheldon and Michael pitched in to answer questions along with their parents. As for Richard and Susanne’s other sons, 17 years old Carley and 19 year old Jesse, they were away at school.

“It’s really important for the kids to see where stuff is produced,” said Susanne, “how it all happens and that they have a really good clean product coming to them to drink.”

When asked what Sheldon liked about living on the far, his answer was the cows. All total Donnaville Holsteins has over 120 cows between two barns.

“Even when I was young, I had a big interest in the cows,” said Sheldon, a 4-H member.

His duties on the farm include milking, clipping the cow’s hair and he does his best to keep everything as clean as possible.

“We milk twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon,” said Sheldon. “It takes about an hour.”

As the groups walked around with their leaders, Leeds Dairy Educator Emily Morrison, with help, was giving out baby food jars with whipping cream.

The children were asked to shake the ingredients in the jar until it formed a ball. Once the ball was formed, the buttermilk was poured off and butter was made.

“We have the recipe here and it can be done at home,” indicated Morrison. “On the back side of the sheet is a recipe for ice cream.”

Morrison has presented at various schools and participated in the Ontario Early Years Program.

“Most of the time it (presentations) would be school age kids,” added Morrison. “It takes about 45 minutes and we try to keep the students active and make it fun. They participate and really enjoy it.”

To make arrangements for Morrison to visit your school or groups, email knappemily@yahoo.com.

This is one adventure that these individuals will never forget as it had so much to offer and to learn about.

The Leeds County Dairy Producers hope to see children again next year to explain where the varieties of dairy products come from.

Source: St. Lawrence EMC



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