The New River Valley Fair is underway, and as families get in on the fun, they’re learning about agriculture.
Students from local dairy farms were getting the animals ready Tuesday for the fair’s upcoming dairy show.
“All the work that goes into this – it’s a lot more than just milking a cow,” said Julianne Snyder, one of the students who helps out at Wall Bros. Dairy Farm.
“We try to emphasize this as a dairy project for the kids to teach them how to take care of a dairy animal, how to prepare them for show,” explained Kim Sanders, co-owner of Black Hollow Dairy in Dublin.
Sanders said she has been coming to the fair for years and admitted the agriculture section isn’t the same as what it used to be.
“Twenty years ago, when I started doing this, we would fill two or three barns,” she said. “We’re down to one barn this year. The small family farms in this area aren’t able to stay in business.”
That’s why she said fairs and shows are as important as ever to raise awareness about local agriculture.
“For a lot of people at the fair, it’s a real-life experience with an animal,” Sanders said. “A lot of people have never seen a dairy cow, and they make that connection, ‘Oh wow, this is where my milk comes from.'”
Sanders said she’s encouraged to see kids like Snyder still getting involved.
“It’s just interesting to see all the dairy and the farm-type stuff,” Snyder said. “It’s really cool to teach people about it.”
The fair continues through Saturday. In addition to Wednesday’s dairy show, the fair also features shows for beef cattle and sheep later this week, Sanders said.