Visitors to the 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show will have a new “must see” stop at the “Calving Corner,” Pennsylvania’s live dairy cow birthing center. More than 500,000 children and adults will be given the opportunity to watch a dairy cow give birth to a newborn calf during the eight-day show.
“The Calving Corner is more than just a celebration of the miracle of life that happens daily on our dairy farms,” said David Smith, executive director for PA Dairymen’s Association. “We have an opportunity to share our love for dairy cows, provide insight into daily life on the farm and feature the health benefits of dairy foods with everyone who visits the Farm Show.”
The Calving Corner will provide a unique platform for dairy farmers and industry personnel to interact with families visiting the state’s largest agriculture show. Dairy farmers and industry volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and strengthen relationships between consumers and the people who produce their food.
Miriam Kelly Miller of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will lead the planning and coordinate the education program as the Calving Corner project manager. Miller was raised on a dairy farm in northern Blair County, where she was an active 4-H and Pennsylvania Junior Holstein member. Miller earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dairy science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and her master’s degree in nutritional physiology from Cornell University. Miller returned to Pennsylvania after graduation and accepted a position as nutritional coordinator with Renaissance Nutrition Inc., a livestock vitamin mineral premix company. There, Miller provided technical support to dairy farmers and nutritionists. Most recently, she has worked in public education.
She is excited to return to serve the dairy industry as project manager for the Calving Corner. “Having grown up on a dairy farm, I’m looking forward to making the most of this opportunity to connect consumers with the people who produce their food,” said Miller. “From interactive games to answering questions during the births, volunteers will be able to have conversations with thousands of people who rarely get to see a real cow.”
Miller will work closely with Justin Risser, Cow Committee chairperson for the birthing center and partner at Meadow Vista Dairy LLC in Bainbridge, Pennsylvania. Miller and Risser will work together preparing and planning standard operating procedures with the four local dairy farmers who were selected to loan expectant dairy cows. The cows will give birth to 16 newborn calves, who will take their first steps at the 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
The Calving Corner planning committee consists of members from the following organizations: PA Dairymen’s Association, Center for Dairy Excellence, American Dairy Association North East, Pennsylvania Farm Show, Land O’Lakes, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, PennAg Industries Association, Merck Animal Health, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Science, Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association and the University of Pennsylvania.
The planning committee is seeking sponsors at varying levels and hands-on volunteers to commit to supporting the project. For more information on how to get involved, please email Miriam Kelly Miller.
—From Center for Dairy Excellence news release
PHOTO: Miriam Kelly Miller, the Calving Corner project manager, presents an update on the project at the 2017 Pennsylvania Dairy Summit in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Photo provided by the Center for Dairy Excellence.