GREEN BAY, Wis— A lesson in farming comes with a whole new meaning for students across the state. A new program, Adopt-A-Cow is connecting local dairy farmers like Heather Jauquet to classrooms.
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Nurturing new born calves is one of the highlights of Jauquet job on her family owned dairy farm, Synergy Dairy. Petting her newest addition, a small brown calf who she has yet to be named. Every morning she makes sure the calves are healthy.

“Checking that is going to tell me if I have a good day or a bad day,” says Jauquet.

She helps care for more than 1,000 dairy cows and now her daily tasks have become part of lesson planning for Wisconsin teachers, all while students virtually adopt a calf.

“We would love nothing more than for every child to have the opportunity to come to be here with us,” she says, “but we know in today’s world that’s not necessarily possible for all students.”

So that’s why every step in the calf’s life is recorded through pictures, videos and updates, all sent to teachers like Kaila Fitzl who teaches 4th graders at Loyal Elementary in Clark County.

This is the second year joining Adopt-A-Cow for Ms. Fitzl. She keeps her students updated with their calf by posting pictures on a bulletin board dedicated to this program.

“Up on the left hand side I have our calf form last year, which was Terry, and on the right hand side I have this year’s calf,” says Fitzl as she points to a bulletin board. “Then we just have our birth certificate from the calf and everything on the board and a little project we made through the program.”

Adopt-A-Cow, launched by Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and Discover Dairy has reach well over 1,500 classrooms. Students can check in weekly to see how their class “pet” is doing.

“We drive past [farms] every day, but actually stepping foot in the barn, many [students] haven’t,” says Fitzl. “So it fits perfectly into 4th grade social studies because we learn all about Wisconsin, so this is a way to dig deeper into the whole dairy industry that we already learn about.”

Back on the farm, Seroogy is the seven-month-old calf Fitzl’s fourth graders look after. She’s the subject in focus to bring awareness of the importance of farmers in our state.

“Most of the questions we get from the kids are, ‘Is she happy?’ ‘Is she healthy?’ ‘Is she eating well?’ ‘Is she growing?’ All those kinds of things and it’s really all of those things that are important to us,” says farmer Jauquet.

Organizers hope to keep expanding the program next year to reach even more classrooms.

Nominations are open for Fonterra’s board election but a repeat of the drama that rocked the vote three years ago can be ruled out.

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