Range View kicks off Western Dairy’s Adopt a Farmer Program | MyWindsorNow.com

Range View kicks off Western Dairy’s Adopt a Farmer Program

Samantha Fox

Rebecca Hirsch lifted a baggy of something mushy and yellow on Wednesday and asked a group of third-graders to identify it.

Their only hint was cows eat it. One student, Conrad, knew the answer.

"Silage," he said proudly.

But he had an advantage. Hirsch is his mom, and she works on a dairy farm in Eaton.

Hirsch was at Range View Elementary, 700 Ponderosa Drive in Severance, as part of the school's Adopt a Farmer kickoff event. The program, facilitated through Western Dairy Association, pairs a dairy farmer with a group of students, normally all within a certain grade.

The third-graders at Range View adopted Hirsch in her second year of the program. She now works with the elementary and Severance Middle School.

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"I just wanted to help the local kids learn about our local farming," Hirsch said.

Wednesday was the start of the program for Range View, and the kids got quick lessons about the dairy industry from experts in the field. The kickoff included different mini lessons about pasteurization, how to make cream and butter and what the day-to-day routine looks like for a dairy farmer.

Gary Schlagel, community service director for Longmont Dairy, tripped the class up with one question: "Is milk a dairy product?"

The class thought yes, but dairy products are made from milk. Milk is just dairy, he explained to a chorus of "oohhs."

Schlagel knew it was a trick question, but he wanted to make sure the kids understood milk is dairy and dairy products must include it.

The program allows schools to integrate lessons about the dairy industry into units throughout the year. At the end of the school year, the students tour the dairy of the farmer the class adopts.

The program started four years ago, and there are six schools involved, four of which are in Weld County, including Skyview and Grandview elementary schools in Windsor, and Severance Middle School.

This is the second year for Range View.

Current Adopt-a-Farmer schools

Skyview Elementary, Windsor (Josh Cleland, Cleland Dairy)

Grandview Elementary, Windsor (Josh Docheff and Kristie Docheff, Blue Sky Dairy)

Range View Elementary, Severance (Rebecca Hirsch, Hirsch Dairy)

Severance Middle School, Severance (Rebecca Hirsch, Hirsch Dairy)

Cotopaxi Elementary, Cotopaxi (Carol Hammel, Camerlo Dairy)

Heurgano Schools, Walsenberg (Carol Hammel, Camerlo Dairy)