EAST LANSING, Mich. — Milk mustaches, coolers full of ice cream and kids combing through fun activities best describes the 2014 Great Dairy Adventure recently at the Michigan State University Livestock Pavilion in East Lansing.
Held in conjunction with the Michigan Dairy Expo, the Great Dairy Adventure is all about educating the public about the dairy industry and promoting the goodness of dairy in the diet.
Parents and daycare providers capitalized on the free activity as youngsters and their caretakers entered the pavilion looking for fun and adventure and left having experienced the complete dairy story as milk moves from cow to cooler.
Given a backpack full of dairy promotional goodies, each youngster was offered the opportunity to learn about what cows eat, how their food is processed, how a cow is milked, where the milk goes after it leaves the farm and the need for three servings of dairy a day in the diet.
"Our hope is that event attendees leave the event with a better understanding of the importance of including dairy products as part of a balanced diet," said Carla McLachlan, MSU animal science event and program manager.
One of the highlights of the event is being able to actually milk a cow themselves. Animal science majors from Michigan State University staffed the stations where kids are taught how to milk a cow and how to feed a calf. They even got the opportunity to reach into a cow’s rumen through a cannulated cow.
To drive the message of the goodness of dairy home, MSU athletes also participate in the adventure. From football and track to volleyball and wrestling, student athletes gave their time to interact with the attendees by signing autographs and posing for pictures.
Free milk, ice cream and yogurt were in abundance as kids received their three servings of dairy at one event.
The Great Dairy Adventure is sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and is manned by volunteers who enjoy promoting the dairy industry.