Mobile dairy farm visits MVES

Michaela Sanders with the Alabama Dairy Farmers Classroom and her cow, Jersey Belle, visit Meadow View Elementary School on Oct. 2. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Michaela Sanders with the Alabama Dairy Farmers Classroom and her cow, Jersey Belle, visit Meadow View Elementary School on Oct. 2. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Several of the more than 100 kids gathered outside Meadow View Elementary School for a mobile dairy farm presentation on Oct. 2 turned and pointed as a chance happening fit perfectly into what they were learning.

“Look, there’s her milk!” a student said excitedly as a Barber’s Milk truck pulled into the MVES cafeteria loading dock.

By coincidence, the delivery truck pulled up to the school a few seconds after Michaela Sanders with the Alabama Dairy Farmers Classroom explained to the students the process dairy farmers follow to bring milk products to local stores.

“When you pour milk on your cereal every morning, remember that there is a dairy farmer working 365 days a year, seven days a week to bring you a wholesome product,” Sanders told the kids, many of who were wearing plaid shirts and cowboy hats.

During the presentation, Sanders showed the students how each of Alabama’s 56 dairy farms milk their cows and transport it to facilities to be pasteurized and homogenized.

Using electronic milking machines and a carousel device to rotate cows, large dairy farms are able to milk about 72 cows in 15 minutes, Sanders said, drawing gasps from the children.

“We don’t milk cows by hand anymore, because it takes too long,” Sanders said. “It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to milk by hand as opposed to the (automatic milking machine).

“Cows like to be milked. Their udders can weigh 45 pounds when they are full,” she added.

Sanders, a dairy farmer in Elmore County, travels with the mobile dairy farm five days a week during the school year while making presentations like the one at MVES on Oct. 2.

“We go to schools and educate the students about the importance of milk in their diets, and we talk about how it makes it to stores,” Sanders said. “Most of the kids have never even been around a cow.”

To learn more about the mobile dairy farm program, visit Southwestdairyfarmers.com.