NHAITC logo vector

apple blossom


cow, Guernsey 

Food for Thought

from NH Agriculture in the Classroom

Got Milk?  National Dairy Month is ComingMay 2011
In This Issue
Message from the President
Dairy Farmer Reflections
Dairy Projects for the Class
Governor's Proclamation
Commissioner's Column



State of New Hampshire

By His Excellency

John H. Lynch, Governor

A Proclamation

National Ag Day

March 15, 2011


WHEREAS, National Ag Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the importance of the agriculture industry in our state and nation;

and WHEREAS, Agriculture plays an essential role in our economy, providing almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis and increasingly contributes to the production of fuel and other bio-products; and WHEREAS, Increased knowledge of agriculture allows individuals to make informed choices about food, environment, land use and sustainability; and WHEREAS,

Many employment opportunities exist in the agriculture industry, including education, farm production, finance and business management, research and engineering, processing and retailing, and more; and WHEREAS,

The farmers of New Hampshire provide wholesome foods for our tables, natural fiber, flowers, plants and trees for our homes and communities; are steward our land and water resources; and maintain the scenic working landscape that helps define the character of our state;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN H. LYNCH, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, do hereby proclaim MARCH 15, 2011 as NATIONAL AG DAY in New Hampshire and urge all citizens to recognize the importance of the agriculture industry in New Hampshire.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Concord, this 28th day of February, in the year of Our Lord two thousand and eleven, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and thirty-five.

John H. Lynch




  Upcoming Events:  

Grafton County Conservation Day

May 12 at North

Haverill Fairgrounds


NH Sheep & Wool Festival

May 15-14 at

Hopkinton Fairgrounds

Merrimack County School to Farm Days May 18-19 at Apple Hill Farm
Woodsville Elementary Ag Awareness Day
May 27
Haverill Cooperative Middle School Health Fair
June 3
School to Farm Days
June 8-9 at UNH
Haverill Cooperative Middle School 6th grade Ice Cream Making Day
June 9


Contact us for details


Ruth Smith,Statewide Coordinator: 224-1934; nhaitc@nhfarmbureau.org


Deb Robie, Grafton County Coordinator:

747-3869; wehunt4@paigecos.com

Websites Worth Visiting


Granite State Dairy Promotion: www.nhdairypromo.org


Discover Dairy: www.discoverdairy.com


National Dairy Council



Agriculture Resource Service/USDA

Kids Corner




The mature female of cattle is called a COW.


The male of the species is a BULL.


A female bovine that has not had a calf is called a HEIFER.


COWS or CATTLE spend a lot of time eating! ... about 8 hours a day!


Cows have FOUR compartments in their stomach to aid in digestion.


An 8 oz. glass of milk provides a large percentage of your recommended daily allowance of important vitamins and minerals:

17% Protein

29% Calcium

23% Phosphorus

23% Riboflavin

25% Vitamin D

15% Vitamin B-12 

When your mother said, "drink your milk, it's good for you!" She wasn't kidding.


The average dairy farm in NH has about 115 cows. 


The number of dairy cows in NH peaked at 115,036 in 1900.


NH currently has about 130 dairy farms which produce

a total of 40 million gal of milk each year.


The average cow produces 16,800 pounds of milk a year. 


Black and white Holsteins are the most common dairy cow in NH but other breeds include Jersey, Ayrshire, Gurensey, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorns.


Holsteins are the largest dairy cows in size, weighing about 1500 pounds. 


Holsteins, on average, give 6.4 gallons or 55 pounds of milk per day.





Quick Links...
Join Our Mailing List

Dear Readers,

     This month we are including a copy of a proclamation from NH John Lynch and a column by NH Commissioner of Agriculture both from the March 9th issue of the Weekly Market Bulletin put out by the NH Dept. of Ag (available to anyone for a nominal fee) with permission. 

     There is much that is "Right with American Agriculture" including here in NH.  Meanwhile there is a real war being waged against modern farming.  This may sound harsh but any serious investigation will probably shock you.  One of our aims at NH and National Ag in the Classroom is to encourage all ages to openly search out the real truths before making judgments and decisions. 

     Perhaps students can understand by comparing it to cyber bullying.  Most kids know that others can write all kinds of untruths and they will be believed because it is in print.  The agriculture community is a tiny minority of our population, while wealthy groups are battling using many of those same tactics, which are very convincing until the reader does his own fact finding. 

     Whether it is how the cows are being treated or if the sheep is uncomfortable during shearing, we strive to build honest understanding.  Several school-to-farm events are being planned this spring with this kind of education in mind.  There are still opportunities for having the bee book read in your school if you have not already scheduled.

     We hope the materials in this issue will help you prepare for National Dairy Month coming up in June.



Jozi Best, NHAITC President


Dairy Farmer Reflections
dairy farm father & sonJune is Dairy Month

At long last the breeze is warm and the grass is green and growing.   It seems impossible that anything green could emerge after months of New Hampshire winter.  As I am writing it is almost May, and one of the busiest times on a dairy farm.   In third grade I decided I was going to be a dairy farmer, and for the past twenty eight years the milk truck has appeared every other day, loading on the milk from our cows to ultimately appear on your grocery shelf in many different forms including milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and more. 


I can't think of any place more interesting, exciting and full of educational opportunities for children than a New Hampshire dairy farm.  It is very special to be up close and personal with the animals, from small newborn calves to the mature milk cows and to pick up a handful of their feed and sort out the kernels of corn, stems of grass and other ingredients.  It seems like magic as the "factory" inside the cow converts all this into white frothy milk that flows from the cow through the pipes into the milk storage tank.


There aren't too many things I enjoy more than giving farm tours, helping to connect children and adults to the source of their food.   June is Dairy Month and I hope it will be a time when you and your students can enjoy and benefit from a farm tour.  


Miles A. Conklin, Jalco Farm

Haverhill, NH


Editor's note: Miles Conklin recently joined the board of NHAITC.  We are delighted to have him bringing his dairy perspective to our team.  His farm was sited as a "quality dairy" for 2010 by the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. Congratulations and welcome Miles. 

Dairy Projects for the Classroom

dairy productsMilking a cow may not be something that many students will get to do, but turning milk into butter, cheese or ice cream are projects that can be easily done in a classroom setting.  Kids will be amazed to learn how these common foods are created and of course they will love sampling them too.


Simple Butter Making

Materials: Per group - 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream at room temperature; plastic peanut butter jar or other container with a tight fitting lid; 2-3 marbles; For class: colander; bowl; wooden spoon; butter knife, crackers.  It's nice to have an old fashioned butter churn or picture of one to illustrate how butter was made historically.


Divide your class into groups of 8-10 students.  Give each group a set of materials from above list. Pour the cream into the jar with the marbles.  Put lid on tightly. Have each student shake the jar, passing it around the group.  Predict how long it will take to make butter. Listen to the marbles and notice how the sound changes as the cream thickens.  The students can create butter making songs to pass the time. 


After 10-12 minutes students will see a lump of butter surrounded by thin liquid (buttermilk) in the jar. Put the colander over the bowl, pour the butter in the colander, separate out the buttermilk and chill it to taste later.  Rinse the butter with cold water, pressing it against the side of the colander with the wooden spoon.  When the butter is well washed it's time to taste it!  Place a small amount on a cracker and enjoy.


For a fun Coffee Can Ice Cream making activity see: http://www.makeicecream.com/makicecreami1.html


For a simple 30 minute mozzarella cheese recipe visit: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Mozzarella.pdf

Dairy Books
Extra Cheese Please

Extra Cheese, Please!  by Chris Peterson

This book begins with the birth of a calf and acknowledgement that a cow must have a calf before she can give milk.  The book details the milking process and cheese production. A glossary and list of related books are provided in the back. Ages 6-9.

From Milk to Ice CreamFrom Milk to Ice Cream by Kristin T. Keller

This book follows the path of milk to ice cream.  It illustrates modern farm equipment and processing operations.  The book ends with a page on George Washington's love of ice cream, a glossary, recipe and recommended Internet sites.

Hooray for Dairy Farming by Bobbie Kalman

Children will love learning everything about cows, bulls, heifers, and calves. HoHooray for Dairy Farmingoray for Dairy Farming! offers a fascinating look at the day-to-day world of a modern dairy farm showing how milk is produced, processed, and distributed. Full-color photographs and clear text explain: - the history of dairy farming- how farmers keep cows healthy - what cows eat and how they make milk - the machinery used to milk cows - how milk is pasteurized - how dairy products such as cheese are manufactured - the three different kinds of dairy barns - how to make a banana milkshake.  Best for ages 7-12.product photo  

Milk Comes from a Cow? By Dan Yunk

Follow the travels of Kailey as this city girl visits the farm to learn where milk comes from. This educational book offers a fun way for young people, parents and teachers to learn more about agriculture. The book, sponsored by the Kansas Farm Bureau, can be ordered from their website. A teacher's guide is also available for free download.  Best for ages 3-7.


National Ag Day Celebrates What's Right with American Agriculture


Governor John Lynch has proclaimed March 15 National Ag Day in New Hampshire. The day will be celebrated in elementary schools around the state as Ag in the Classroom and NH Farm Bureau Young Farmers have enlisted farmers, beekeepers and other ag. professionals to read this year's ag. literacy book selection to students. Beekeepers play a special role this year because the 2011 book choice is In the Trees, Honey Bees by Lori Mortensen.

 National Ag Day is part of National Ag Week, March 13-19-a time to recognize and celebrate the abundance of American agriculture and the many benefits that farms provide to our communities, states and country.  Agriculture seems to be getting a lot more attention due to concerns about adequate food supplies and rising prices. Normally food and farming is taken for granted in this country and most of the developed world. But world crop shortfalls and rising petroleum prices are fueling price increases for agricultural inputs and commodities. 

The Economist ran a special report on The Future of Food that tackles the outlook for feeding a world population projected to grow from today's 6.7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. World food needs will grow 50% by 2030-which doesn't seem all that far off. The report in the February 28-March 4 issue: (www.economist.com/node/18200618) notes that the success of American agriculture offers some hope. American farmers have been increasing yields while reducing fertilizer and pesticide use. Adoption of no-till and reduced-till systems pays multiple benefits-increasing soil organic matter which boosts fertility and water retention, preventing run-off and erosion, and reducing water evaporation by 30-40%. By reducing soil temperatures by a degree or so and sequestering about 200 kg of carbon per hectare, no-till and low-till farming help combat effects of global warming. In some areas of India eliminating tillage means farmers can squeeze a second crop into the growing season.

Managing weeds is the challenge for reduced tillage systems. Planting seeds with engineered resistance allows use of more benign herbicides-such as glyphosate (trade names such as Round-Up). Because Europe has banned most GE crops, no-till has been used on only 6% of farmland in developing countries, even less in Europe.

The first seminar in the 2011 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems series, sponsored by UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and NH Agricultural Experiment Station, tackled these issues. Dr. Peggy Lemaux, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Plant Biotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley, gave a talk titled 'Feast, Famine and the Future of Food.'  Lemaux's cereal grains research includes developing faster germinating barley with improved starch characteristics for the brewing industry, and a hypoallergenic wheat variety for consumers with wheat allergies. With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she is leading development of new varieties of nutritionally enhanced sorghum, an African staple.

Since 1978 the area of cultivated land per person in the U.S. has declined by 25%, and the number of farms has fallen by two-thirds. These amazing gains in crop and livestock production efficiency have resulted in less than 1% of the population in the United States now involved in production agriculture, Lemaux noted-leaving a serious lack of knowledge in the population as a whole.

Genetic engineering is not a silver bullet, Lemaux stressed. She worries about corporate domination of research and development, noting that academic scientists "are locked out of plant breeding" because of high costs and cuts to government funding for ag research. But the potential for increasing sustainability and the quantity and nutritional quality of foods for the developing world is great. Her UNH presentation is on her website, which is an excellent source of educational materials on biotechnology for all ages. Go to http://ucbiotech.org/

Lorraine Merrill, Commissioner

The Weekly Market Bulletin is available by subscription from the NH Department of Agriculture: www.nh.gov/agric 
We hope you enjoyed the interview with Katie Birdsey last month.  We'd like to make teacher interviews a more regular part of our newsletter.  If you have a successful ag program or activity to share, let us know and we'll give you a call to learn more.
Have a great spring.


Ruth Smith

State Coordinator NHAITC
NH Agriculture in the Classroom