Students visit Chatham's Vanderhyde Dairy
Have you ever tried to discreetly explain, to a five year-old, where food comes from? Specifically, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, or milk? It was an eye-opening experience for the young minds of Faith Christian Academy, who took a day last week to visit the Vanderhyde Dairy in Chatham, Virginia.
Vanderhyde Dairy, Inc. is one of the largest dairies in Pittsylvania County and hosts over 2000 animals with 1151 active milking Holstein cows. The dairy farm raises female calves to full maturity, with each of the 1150 cows being milked three times per day. Any dairy farmer knows that “happy cows provide great milk” and this farm has happy cows! The active milking herd produces approximately 10,500 gallons of milk each day. That means the dairy produces 3,832,500 gallons of milk each year and distribution happens anywhere along the East Coast!
Children saw the farm’s Carousel Parlor System, a rotating milking parlor, and the actual milking process (safety and innovation). They witnessed a live birth (calving), calves at different stages, and the post-birth cow barn with stalls and feeds (nutrition). Vanderhyde Dairy also raises and boards pigs and sheep, therefore manure management and farm sustainability were also discussed (ecology).
Ironically, the group finished up with a lunch of cheese pizza, ice-cream, and sharing a giant cookie.