SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The first of three American Dairy Association North East signature Virtual Farm Tours kicked off the spring season on Tuesday, March 22. More than 13,000 students from 43 states registered for the live virtual tour, with others planning to watch the recorded version at another time.
The first spring tour was hosted by Ed Facer at Star Rock Farms in Conestoga, Lancaster County. The next two tours are set for April 28, at Reyncrest Farm, Corfu, N.Y., and May 26, at Spring Run Dairy, Pittstown, N.J.
“Doing the Virtual Farm Tour was easy and very enjoyable,” said Facer. It gave me an opportunity to reach kids of all ages and all demographics to see what happens on a day in the life of a farmer.”
“The demand for virtual programming continues to exist and it’s an extremely effective way to reach more consumers than we could only through grassroots promotions,” said ADA North CEO Rick Naczi. “It’s another tool we have to continue to develop trust in dairy, and we encourage dairy farmers to share the registration information with their local schools.”
Since launching the Virtual Farm Tour concept in 2018, the 18 tours hosted live from the farm by nine different farmers from New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, have racked up nearly 500,000 views between the live and recorded broadcasts.
ADA North East has been testing and implementing ways to make this program more valuable for teachers and participants. New this season are two separate tour sessions taking place on the same day at each farm, including:
- A “deep dive” tour on sustainable nutrition for Grades 6-12
- A general “How Dairy Recycles” tour for Pre-K- Grade 5 students.
Other developments in the program include vocabulary lists and teacher-developed student lesson plans which meet Common Core Standards for elementary, middle and high school classes.
ADA North East was recently recognized for its virtual programming at the National Agri-Marketing Association annual meeting in Missouri, along with video production partner Shiftology. The “Best of NAMA” award was given for a producer-funded public relations campaign directed toward consumers.
“Our efforts to continually improve the virtual experience for consumer audiences was validated by receiving this award from our agricultural peers,” said Naczi. “Developing a top-shelf educational program like this enhances dairy farmer credibility which in turn helps build trust and sales in dairy when consumers can make the connection with those who are producing the milk and products they enjoy.”
All ADA North East virtual farm tours are recorded and available at AmericanDairy.com under “Virtual Farm Tours.”
–American Dairy Association North East