Area students were given a special lesson on Thursday courtesy of Suzie Reece and her helper Snickers, a five-year-old Jersey dairy cow. The pair travel to schools and fairs across the state in a mobile dairy classroom giving presentations about the characteristics of dairy cows and live demonstrations of the automated milking process. This week they are spending two days at the Carter County Free Fair, and they will be giving more presentations today from approximately 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Reece, a mobile dairy educator for Southwest Dairy Farmers, described some of the equipment she uses in her demonstrations.
“I have a portable milk pump in my trailer, and it’s very similar to the large ones they use on dairy farms,” Reece said. “It has the same milking machine and claw with a glass weigh jar (for collecting the fresh milk) that dairy farms have. It’s just smaller and made for one cow.”
Reece said the mobile classroom gives students a chance to learn about the dairy industry without having to visit a farm. She has two different cows that take turns traveling with her. Snickers is especially suited for fairs.
“Snickers is a very cooperative cow and enjoys people. She actually had been shown at fairs when she was younger,” Reece said. “She’s used to being on display and traveling and riding in the trailer. She really responds well.”
Reece said a Jersey cow can give up to six gallons of milk in a day, and Snickers is currently in full milk production because she just calved. While giving demonstrations at fairs, the cow is not milked dry during any one demonstration, so she can be milked up to five times a day.
For more information about Southwest Dairy Farmers or to make a request for the mobile dairy classroom to make a visit at your school visit www.southwesterdairyfarmers.com.