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Source: Columbia Daily Tribune

Some students at Fairview Elementary School on Friday learned about where their milk, ice cream, cheese and yogurt come from and met one source in the form of Grace, a Jersey cow.

The educational demonstration is part of a partnership between the St. Louis Dairy Council and Southwest Dairy Farmers. Grace was touring 10 schools, with the final stop Friday afternoon at Russell Boulevard Elementary School.

The students learn how their milk gets from cow to carton, said Margie Graham, with St. Louis Dairy Council.

Ralph Keel, with Southwest Dairy Farmers, introduced the students to Grace, who is 2 years old.

“Whoa!” the students exclaimed when Grace emerged in the demonstration trailer.

“It’s a real live cow,” one student exclaimed.

Ralph Keel, with Southwest Dairy Farmers, demonstrates how cows are milked Friday at Fairview Elementary School. The educational project was a partnership between Southwest Dairy Farmers a and the St. Louis Dairy Council.

“Milk is part of everything that’s good,” Keel said. “You like ice cream, right?’

Milk helps bones grow strong, he said.

“When you drink milk, you’re getting 13 different nutrients,” Keel said.

Jersey cows are the smallest dairy cows, but they produce the most cream, he said. Grace eats around 60 pounds of food a day and produces 6 gallons of milk a day, Keel said.

Keel is graded by how clean his barn is by a health inspector, he said.

Many dairy farms have robots that do a lot of the work that was once done by hand, Keel said.

Fairview Elementary School first grader Eyden Jones on Friday smiles at Grace, a Jersey dairy cow. Grace was at the school as a demonstration in a partnership between the St. Louis Dairy Council and Southwest Dairy Farmers.

He gave a quick demonstration of hand milking. He demonstrated cleaning the cow’s udders with iodine. It lets Grace get prepared to be milked, he said.

Keel placed the milking machine on the udders and the milk began to flow into a container.

Most students guessed the milk would be cold when Keel asked them.

“It comes from her body, so it’s warm,” Keel said.

Before the milk goes to stores, the dairy pasteurizes it by heating it to 165 degrees, he said.

The average child needs three to four servings of dairy daily, Keel told them.

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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