MARCY, NY — Dairy month started on a sunny and inspiring note, courtesy of the DiNitto Family Dairy Farm, Oneida County Farm Bureau, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County, Oneida County Dairy Promotion and legions of enthusiastic volunteers, vendors and sponsors. Over 850 Oneida County elementary school students and 4,000 guests and local families toured and learned about the inner workings of the large dairy farm at the annual Farm Fest.
The Farm Fest, recognized by the NYS Agricultural Society as an “Agricultural Education Award” winner, is an event that allows the public to take a first-hand look inside a working Oneida County dairy farm while offering fun, educational activities for all ages and a chance to connect with farmers to learn the real experiences in producing food 24/7. “We were so impressed by the quality of the farm and thankful for the opportunity to learn where our food comes from, said healthcare professional, Angela Smith of Utica, NY.
The farm and the grounds filled with over 20 agriculture-related displays, exhibits and demonstrations were an interactive classroom for students earlier in the day and then opened up for a twilight engagement to the general public. The evening was packed with horse and wagon rides, children’s games, multiple animal petting stations, a hay maze, kiddie tractor pulls, tours of the milking parlor and spotless barns, machinery close-up views and visits with the host family and agriculture support services.
With all this excitement, one needs a dairy product break. That’s where the Oneida County Dairy Promotion and the dairy princesses stepped up with free cartons of delicious, healthy milk and toasted cheese sandwiches. While folks enjoyed their natural beverage, they got to hear about the benefits of dairy products, three times a day. In addition, guests were treated to samples of cheese curd, hard cheese varieties and a chicken BBQ by the Stittville Fire Department.
“My experience with visitors was a positive one. They were surprised by how much technology and automation it takes to harvest crops and milk and feed the cows. I saw many new faces and an increase in participation by the public and school age children. This local, real-life glimpse into what it takes to produce heathy food takes a tremendous amount of work and coordination by many hands. We appreciate the commitment of the sponsors, volunteers, agribusinesses and the DiNitto Family for their passion, transparency and advocacy in supporting the dairy industry in the county, said Oneida County Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Chair, Karen K. Lohr.
For more information on the 2017 Farmfest, call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County at 315-736-3394 or www.cceoneida.com.