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A special classroom pet: Students 'adopt a cow' to learn about farming

Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 20, 2023

PULASKI (NBC 26) — Students across Wisconsin got to virtually meet their classroom pet cows and ask questions on Thursday at Synergy Family Dairy in Pulaski.

The calves, Elizabeth, Lulu and Sweet Caroline, are a part of the "Adopt a Cow" program. Heather Jauquet, an owner at Synergy Family Dairy, said the nationwide program connects classrooms with farms and "gives students an opportunity to learn about the dairy industry."

"The students are first introduced to the calves when they're just babies, and they get to follow their growth and their progress throughout the entire school year," Jauquet said. "These calves started out at about 90 pounds and now they're approaching 500 pounds."

Jauquet said the calves have been adopted by "900 classrooms" throughout the state, and each classroom that participates gets one of the calves at the beginning of the school year and watches them grow throughout the year.

Synergy Family Dairy is one of three farms in the state doing the program this year. This is their second year participating, and Jauquet said their main goal is to get students more familiar with farms and "where their food comes from."

"The average consumer is now about four generations removed the farm, so that creates a real divide between what consumers know about agriculture and what's actually happening on farms," Jauquet said.

Jen Krull is an assistant manager at the farm. She said the program is important because people should learn about their food supply, especially in a changing environment, and students can do so in a hands-on way.

"I know from our last year of doing this, the kids absolutely loved coming and meeting the calves, and it was like a puppy dog to them," Krull said.

"My husband and I were so blown away by the love and the connection these kids felt to these calves through the school year program," Jauquet said. "We are just astonished."

Students can meet the calves in person during the Shawano County Brunch on the Farm at Synergy Family Dairy on June 25th.