ORANGE CITY—If you never have a chance to spend a day at an American dairy, why not go to your local library to learn about the American dairy industry?
The Western Iowa Dairy Alliance will holds its second-ever Dairy Day at the Library at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, in Orange City.
The free event, which is being put on by the Orange City Public Library, will be held inside the city hall gym located at 125 Central Ave. S.
“It’s a way to bring the farm to town to showcase the dairy industry to our youth,” said WIDA executive director Scott Schroeder, who is based in Orange City.
“The goal is just to expose kids to the dairy industry and what goes on within the industry,” he said. “This is a new approach.”
Among the hands-on activities he has planned for the event are a butter-making demonstration and a milking-cow simulator.
“I have a bunch of butter churners for kids to try and make butter and just to kind of see how that process works,” Schroeder said.
He noted that children are used to their parents going to a grocery store to buy butter.
“My grandparents always used to talk about the times they used to make butter at home,” Schroeder said. “Well, that’s no longer the case anymore.”
He will work with the library to display any and all agriculture-related books, not just ones on the American dairy industry.
“I’ll try to work with the library to really showcase the agriculture books that they have available,” Schroeder said.
He will share what the American dairy industry is all about, with a focus on the northwest corner of Iowa.
“People don’t know that Sioux County has the most dairy cows in the state of Iowa,” Schroeder said. “The chances of you interacting with dairy farmers and dairy farm kids is significantly higher than any other county in the state.”
He referred to the cheese-making facilities at Agropur Cheese in Hull and Associated Milk Producers Inc. in Sanborn as well as Dean Foods’ milk-making plant and Wells Enterprises Inc.’s ice cream headquarters in LeMars.
“The only thing we don’t have is yogurt,” Schroeder said. “Your dairy products are your most locally sourced products. These are locally owned products from your local dairy farmers and they go to these plants.”
He also will highlight the nutritional value of American-made dairy products.
“I’ll have source material available,” Schroeder said. “I’ll bring cow hats and coloring books for kids.”
WIDA’s inaugural Dairy Day at the Library was held on May 10 at the Alton Public Library & Historical Museum with about 60 children in attendance.
“They were the trial run,” Schroeder said. “Other than the butter making taking a lot longer than what it was supposed to, I thought it went really, really well. Kids asked a lot of good questions. The Alton library was pleased.”
He was told 60-200 kids could show up to the event in Orange City.
“I’ll have to round up some volunteers,” Schroeder said. “We’ll see how it goes. If I’m able to get some baby calves in, that’ll take up a lot of kids’ time.”
WIDA has scheduled another Dairy Day at the Library for 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at the Hull Public Library.
“The basic goal of it was to try and do a little bit more outreach to areas where we don’t have a dairy event or a dairy presence as much,” Schroeder said.
“This would kind of help fill that with the kids’ side of things,” he said. “I thought partnering with the libraries would be a good way to do that.”