LITITZ, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Farm Show’s popular Calving Corner has transitioned online with the rest of the week-long event, and it features cows and dairy farmers from Meadow Spring Farm in Lititz.
Viewers can visit the Calving Corner YouTube channel to learn about dairy farming from the family that owns Meadow Spring Farm, and, if the timing works out just right, they may even be able to witness live-streamed calf births.
Seth Bollinger is the son of Meadow Spring Farm owner Andy Bollinger. He’s also a part-time employee at the farm, and he is helping run the virtual Calving Corner. He says there are three or four cows they think may give birth on Tuesday.
One calf was already born this morning, and the baby bull has been named Prince Henry. For those who missed it, the livestream is still available to watch on the Calving Corner’s Facebook page. A second calf is expected to be born soon, and that livestream can also be found on the Calving Corner’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
“[The Calving Corner] is put on by the PA dairy industry to showcase not just the miracle of birth — which is calving for cows, which a lot of people don’t get to experience — but it’s also just to give farmers and consumers a chance to interact and talk about the dairy industry in general,” says Seth.
He adds, “Nowadays…there’s kind of a disconnect between consumers and farmers, and I think the main purpose of the Calving Corner is to try to connect people together.”
Meadow Spring Farm participated in the Farm Show’s Calving Corner in person last year, explains Andy Bollinger, the farm’s owner and manager. Andy says they had a great experience connecting with Farm Show visitors last year, and they were happy to help host the virtual Calving Corner this year.
Seth says one challenge of transitioning to a virtual format is losing the face-to-face interaction with consumers, which is the purpose of the event. But the new format offers some positive points, too.
“Coming up with creative ways to tell more about the story of our farm and what goes on on a daily basis is kind of a fun challenge,” says Seth.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, Seth and Andy are holding virtual Q&A sessions and presenting several other videos to share information about dairy farming. Viewers can find the schedule of events on the Pennsylvania Farm Show website and watch the livestreams and videos on the Calving Corner YouTube channel.
Those interested in watching a calf being born can also text “calvingcorner” to 833-985-1834 to receive a notification when a birth is occurring.
Andy notes that one other plus of the virtual format is that the cows are able to give birth on the farm where they’re used to living, rather than making a stressful trip to the Farm Show Complex for the event.
The theme of the 105th Pennsylvania Farm Show is “Cultivating Tomorrow,” something that the Bollingers literally do by raising future generations of cows.
Andy also says Meadow Spring Farm is “cultivating tomorrow” as the family considers the farm’s future in their work and planning. “From year to year, we try to make it another step better, to try to get a better crop or to figure out ways to care for our cows just a little bit better,” he says.
Another way they’re “cultivating tomorrow” — practicing sustainability on the farm. Andy explains that they grow the feed for their cows at Meadow Spring Farm, and then over the winter, they plant cover crops to help prevent soil erosion. They’ve also been implementing solar power, and they have grassed waterways to help manage stormwater runoff.
At noon on Tuesday, the Bollingers discussed their farm’s environmentally conscious practices in the segment “Caring for the Environment: Sustainability on Dairy Farms.” It can be viewed here.
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