Kids get cow know-how

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

Children, cows and mud came together at the Curry County Fairgrounds Tuesday and Wednesday for Kids, Kows and More.

Approximately 1,000 area fourth-graders attended the annual program, sponsored by the Southwest Dairy Farmers, which is designed to acquaint the students with production agriculture.

Children and teachers trudged through muddy walkways to see demonstrations of eight agriculture topics.

“We had kids, cows and rain (Tuesday) and kids, cows and mud (Wednesday),” Cody Lightfoot with the Southwest Dairy Farmers said.
Mixing juvenile humor into his presentation on dairy cows and the milking process, Lightfoot kept the attention of a large group of students seated on bleachers in the stock arena.

“You know why she sticks her tongue in her nose?” he asked the group. “Because she doesn’t have fingers like you do,” he said to the giggling kids.

“Aren’t you glad you’re not a cow bugger,” he said as his cow Friday licked the insides of her nostrils. “There’s no place to hide,” he said, giving the kids a quick lesson on the anatomy of a cow starting with its 12-inch tongue.

“(I learned) a lot of things about cows,” Portales fourth-grader Mariah Baeza said. “I didn’t know you had to put those (milking) machines on them,” she said after the milking demonstration.

Reyna Navarrete and Jazzmin Griffin, Mariah’s classmates, said they too learned a lot and enjoyed the day.

“If it wasn’t for this, we would be in school today,” Reyna said.

Curry County Extension Agent Stan Jones said the purpose of the program is to “help (students) understand agriculture isn’t something you drive by on the road.”

“We’re a generation away from farms. Kids today think food (just) comes from the store,” Jones said.

Covering topics from cow milking to food safety, ranching and specific crops, Jones said the program helps the youngsters understand how large a role agriculture plays in society.

Roosevelt County 4-H Agent Patrick Kircher said the program offers an opportunity to bring the children out for a fun day and help them get to know the area they live in at the same time.

“If nothing else, if they just go home and understand a few more things about the area they live in … if we do that we’ve done the job we set out to do,” Kirchner said.

Dairy Lessons
A dairy cow is milked two to three times a day
They have a 12-inch tongue
They can weigh between 1,200 to 2,000 pounds
They have one calf a year
They eat 60 to 100 pounds of feed a day
It takes 5 to 8 minutes to milk a cow with an electric milk machine
One dairy cow can produce up to 20 gallons of milk