SYRACUSE, N.Y. — At the Great New York State Fair, which is set to begin in just 70 days, the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) today unveiled two life-size cow displays that will soon begin traveling across the state in an effort to educate New Yorkers on all things dairy. The #DiscoverNYDairy initiative will feature the two artistically enhanced cows traveling downstate, making stops at well-known destinations and food-oriented locations along the way, while encouraging everyone to #DiscoverNYDairy on social media. They will return to the State Fairgrounds in August – to coincide with NYAAC’s management of the eighth annual Dairy Cow Birthing Center.
The display cows are each 7 feet and 6 inches in length, 28 inches wide, and 55 inches tall. Unlike the dairy cows on New York farms that can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds, these life-like fiberglass cows weigh about 100 pounds each.
NYAAC Executive Director Eileen Jensen said, “This initiative will help paint a clearer picture of the connection between family farms and the dairy products we all enjoy. By keeping New Yorkers in mind, especially those who may live hundreds of miles from their nearest farm, we are excited for these dairy cows to moo-ve throughout Metro NY, highlighting restaurants and their favorite dairy dishes, and put a face to the farmers behind our food. We encourage everyone to follow NYAAC on social media and join the #DiscoverNYDairy conversation.”
The Artists Behind the Cows
The cows were painted by artists in Upstate New York who were selected through a competitive process. Each artist was able to impart a personal inspiration and connection to New York’s dairy industry.
- Katie Gabriel: Katie is currently an art teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius High School where she teaches Painting and Drawing, and Advanced Art courses. In 2010, she concluded eight years of academic and professional work in Albany, New York, with a BFA in Painting from The College of Saint Rose, a dual degree in Art Education, and an MFA in Painting from The University at Albany. Katie spent several years instructing undergraduate drawing courses at UAlbany before returning to her hometown of Syracuse. Katie provides a contemporary vision in her depiction of how you can discover New York dairy. Her family is direct descendants of the Everingham family of Lafayette, dairy farmers that date back to before the Revolutionary War. Katie chose to utilize all NY manufactured paint products in her interactive display.
- Danielle Silvanic: Danielle is currently studying biology at Binghamton University and her interest in art and agriculture began at a young age. Growing up, she spent countless hours at her grandparent’s dairy farm and represented New York State at the National 4-H Dairy Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. At Chenango Forks High School in Binghamton, Danielle’s love for art, particularly painting began to shine.
She expanded her dairy experience by participating in a year-long, statewide leadership and career exploration program while attending Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Danielle utilized acrylic paint on the cow sculpture and included personal connections to her family and dairy farming in her visual depiction.
Cow Naming Contest Announced
Before the cows begin moo-ving across the state, they must be named. NYAAC has announced a Naming Contest that will take place on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. New Yorkers are encouraged to visit @NYAnimalAg and comment on the posts with what they want the cows to be named.
Once the cows are named, the #DiscoverNYDairy initiative social media campaign will begin, aimed at highlighting the faces and farms behind our food, and all things dairy. The cows will visit well-known landmarks, destinations, and restaurants across the state. The cows will travel from Central New York down to Long Island and back up again, stopping at familiar places where dairy products are sold to help New Yorkers discover delicious dairy products, and the faces and farms that help get those products to our kitchen tables.
Students Volunteer to Build Cow Display Bases
NYAAC presented a $1,000 check on May 7 to Shenendehowa Middle School technology students in the Capital Region for volunteering to help build the life-size cow bases. A total of 12 students participated in the effort, which included building wooden bases to hold the 100-pound cows, installing wheels for easy maneuvering, and brakes for safety. Photos of their efforts are available for download here.
How to #DiscoverNYDairy
NYAAC’s Discover NY Dairy campaign will launch on social media during National Dairy Month in June. You can follow along on NYAAC’s social media pages:
This project is funded by New York dairy farmers through the Dairy Promotion Order and their dairy checkoff.
June is National Dairy Month
New York is home to nearly 4,000 dairy farms that produce more than 15 billion pounds (1.7 billion gallons) of milk annually. It is the fourth largest dairy producing state with family farm sizes ranging from less than 100 cows to more than 2,000 cows. Dairy Month and is celebrated nationwide and showcases high-quality dairy products and honors the hardworking dairy farm families and their teams.
–New York Animal Agriculture Coalition
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