The American Dairy Association Indiana first #FarmTourFriday of 2022 is coming February 18th, and many Indiana school students are expected to be logged in and learning about the Poland Dairy operation on that Friday morning.
Allie Rieth at ADA Indiana says these virtual events started in the fall of 2019, right before virtual became a necessity.
“And boy are we glad we did! We were a little ahead of the curve and lucky to get some of the kinks worked out before we didn’t have any other choice,” she explained. “We just knew before the pandemic, teachers in classrooms were having a hard time getting out of the classroom and onto farms with transportation issues and timing issues and the fact that a lot of our dairy farms are kind of concentrated in the northern and southern parts of the state. So, we wanted to give the opportunity to classrooms of all ages to be able to experience what it’s like on a farm without really having to leave the classroom.”
Tours continued the next two years, and attendance continued to rise as all learning went virtual.
“Our highest attended virtual farm tour was actually in May of 2021,” she told HAT. “We had almost 6,500 students on one single virtual farm tour. That was up at the Houin’s, Jill Houin after she had served as the milk person for the Indy 500. We were able to include some special guests on some of our virtual farm tours, so we’ve had the Indy 500 princesses out. We’ve had Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts on, as well as Rodrigo Blankenship from the Colts.”
Originally from Maine, Michael Poland moved his dairy herd to Indiana in 2002 after attending Purdue University and realizing the state was great for dairy farming. During the February 18th tour you’ll observe their traditional rotary parlor operation and the robotic part of the dairy.
Hear more from Allie Rieth in the HAT interview:
Register here for the February farm tour. It will also be live streamed on the Indiana Dairy Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Other tours this year are Friday, March 11 at 1:00pm with Jill Houin, the Calf Barn and National School Breakfast Celebration, and Friday, May 20 at 10:00am with Tim Haynes, an Indy 500 Milk Person.