The Fulton County Farm Bureau hosted their Adopted Classroom, fourth graders at St. Germaine School, Oak Lawn, Wednesday.
CANTON-The Fulton County Farm Bureau hosted their Adopted Classroom, fourth graders at St. Germaine School, Oak Lawn, Wednesday.
Over the school year, Fulton County Farm Bureau members have been corresponding with the students.
Directors take a month to write to the class, sending pictures of activities that have taken place on their farm that month along with a letter.
Additionally, they send Ag in the Classroom activities and supplies as well as other items that correspond to farm activities during that month.
The morning kicked off with a stop at Bill and Ellie Carlberg’s farm, Carlberg Dairy.
As the charter bus parked, 24 excited kids, 14 parents, one teacher and the bus driver disembarked.
Wide-eyed and ready to start their adventure one youngster could be heard saying, “Oh, it smells like cows!”
Bill Carlberg was previously the President of the Farm Bureau for six years.
He noted his farm is the only dairy farm left in Fulton County.
The milk produced by his cows is sold to Prairie Farms, Peoria and regardless the day, time of year, weather, etc., someone is always at Carlberg Dairy, “It doesn’t matter what’s going on, Christmas, anniversary, birthday, how cold it is, someone has to be here. The cows have to be milked.”
The cows are milked twice a day, 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day.
With 50 cows currently in their herd, they started on this venture Dec. 23, 1982, “We had five cows at the time,” said Carlberg.
Prior to touring the barns and milking room, everyone put on plastic booties, “Anyone that comes from another farm has to put these (booties) on so they don’t accidentally bring disease on to our farm,” he said.
After the long drive, Ellie Carlberg and others from the Farm Bureau had a special treat for the youngsters, milk and cookies.
Ellie told them, “This milk most likely came from our farm.”
With their bellies full, the students were broken up into two groups. One went with Bill while the other went with Ellie.
First stop for Ellie’s group was the maternity barn.
There, they were able to meet the newest addition a Holstein calf born just a week ago.
Weighing in at 100 pounds, Ellie explained when the calves are first born they are bottle-fed.
Once old enough they are given a special combination of feed with milk mixed in.
A youngster commented, in reference to the calves, “They’re like a really big puppy!”
Following the maternity barn, they were taken to the barn where two of their cows were.
One cow, Millie, is extremely friendly as the children were able to pet her, although some weren’t quite sure how to react.
However, one young man was extremely impressed with Millie’s job as a dairy cow, “You have my utmost respect, Millie,” he told her.
In the milking room, Bill Carlberg explained how the milking process takes place, explaining the various equipment used to milk the cows.
He also explained the cows have their own preferences when it comes to being milked.
For example, the cows decide who will be milked first as well as who will be milked last and some cows prefer to be milked on one side of the room while others like the other side, “They may make up their own mind and it doesn’t matter what we do. If Suzy wants to be milked on this side, there’s no changing her mind,” he shared.
After the dairy cows do their job, the milk goes into the holding tank to await the semi driver who comes to retrieve it for Prairie Farms, “The milk comes out of the cow’s body at 102 to 103 degrees, her normal body temperature, it goes into this tank and within in about 15 minutes it will be cooled down to 38 degrees. A big semi comes and picks up the milk every other day. It doesn’t make any difference whether that every other day is a Sunday, Christmas, New Year’s, whatever there will be milk picked up on this farm every other day. On that every other day that tank will be nearly full. It’s a 1,200 gallon tank. It will be full of milk. It will be ready to go into town (Peoria) to be processed.”
Prior to milking, each cow is cleaned to make sure her udder doesn’t have any bacteria.
It takes around three to four minutes to milk the cow after which the milker is sanitized.
Dairy cows are typically able to produce milk for five to six years.
RFD Radio Network was on hand to document the event.
Barry Fisher, current Fulton County Farm Bureau president was there along with his wife and daughter, too.
in the past, Fisher has taken some of his lambs to Oak Lawn for the children to learn about.
Following the dairy, the youngsters had lunch, which included cookies and Prairie Farms ice cream, at the Fairview Ballpark provided by Fulton FS.
Their next stop was the Fairview Sale Barn followed by Western Grain Marketing Elevator.
Prior to heading home they visited the Vohland Farms Machinery Display near Fairview.
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