Walter Elwood Museum of the Mohawk Valley, located at 100 Church Street, Amsterdam, NY, celebrated their 2nd annual Dairy Day with Montgomery County’s Dairy Promotion team, headed up by American Dairy Association and Dairy Council (ADADC) NY District 5 Director / Montgomery County Dairy Promotion Chair, Terri Phillips-Nelson.
Museum Executive Director Ann M. Peconie, MS, said that the event was originally held as an annual fund raising event for the Museum since the 1960’s, but was changed recently to a dairy day event.
“We recently named it Dairy Day to focus and highlight the rich and vast dairy history in our region and county,” commented Peconie.
Phillips-Nelson said she had only learned about the event last year.
“I was told about the dairy day last year when someone forwarded me the flier on Facebook,” said Phillips-Nelson. “So, I called the museum and asked if the dairy princess committee could set up a booth. I was welcomed with open arms! Ann had no idea that there was such a committee.”
Committee member, Dairy Dude Cole Nelson was on hand to show calves to attendees and talk about dairy and agriculture.
Nelson, who is a junior at Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons in Schenectady, says a Dairy Dude is basically a “male version of Dairy Princess.”
“You go around and promote dairy the same way as the Dairy Princess,” said Nelson. “Sometimes you’re scooping ice cream or sometimes you’re talking to kids.”
Nelson said the points he made to attendees at the Museum’s Dairy Day were:
“First, dairy milk contains nine essential nutrients that are necessary for everyday life. Also, dairy milk does not contain any added sugars. Second, the welfare of the animal is important to the dairy farmer, and third, that dairy farmers are stewards of the land. They rotate crops to keep the soil healthy, useful and sustainable.”
Nelson, who works at Dellavale Dairy Farm, says he’d like to promote dairy to the best of his ability in any way that he is able, and that is why he is on the Dairy Promotion Committee.
“The reason why I decided to get involved in dairy promotion is because I love dairy cows. I like to work with dairy cows and they bring me a lot of enjoyment. I show dairy cattle for Dellavale Farm in Pattersonville.”
Although Nelson says the turnout for the Dairy Day event was somewhat smaller than last year, there was still a good amount of interested attendees.
“The attendance at Dairy Day’s vary from year to year based on weather and what else is happening on that same evening,” said Peconie. “This year the attendance was lower than we would have liked, but the event was still enjoyed by many.”
Nelson says he talked to a “good amount of people and showed off Tab, the Jersey calf.”
“Many people were interested in petting the two calves we brought there,” remarked Nelson.
Amsterdam residents, Avery and Levi Beekman attended the event with their grandmother Valerie.
“I like them!” exclaimed 5-year old Avery when introduced to the calves. “I’d like to have one!”
“She’s nice and she’s beautiful!” exclaimed Levi about the Jersey calf.
Grandmother Valerie says the event is appreciated. “I think this is a very good event for the community. It’s good that the children are learning about dairy and farming right here in our community.”
Phillips-Nelson says Montgomery County has “deep roots in agriculture and especially in the dairy industry.
“I think it is a great idea to promote a dairy day,” said Phillips-Nelson. “As a dairy farmer I think that it is important that we get out there and promote our products and practices to the public, they are the ones that are ultimately in control. I enjoy having animals there for people to pet and it also starts people asking questions. We are five generations away from someone being raised on a dairy farm and we cannot assume they understand why and how we do what we do.”
The event also featured museum tours, family entertainment, music, inflatables, home-baked desserts, ice cream, and vendors.