S.H.S. Ag visits farming facility


Sterling FFA took a field trip to Fair Oaks Farms. A large majority of the students on the field trip are in animal science.

  Sterling agriculture students went on a field trip to Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Indiana, on March 30. Students toured the pig facility, watched the milking process of dairy cattle, and even saw some cows giving birth. This trip was a great opportunity for students to see all that goes into getting food to the grocery stores.

  Fair Oaks Farms is a large dairy and pig farm in Indiana. Fair Oaks is composed of 12 different buildings. 

  During this trip, students were able to experience what it takes to get milk to the grocery store. Students also saw all the different stages that take place when raising pigs.

  While in the milking facility students got to witness the different ways farmers milk cows on a large scale dairy farm. At this facility farmers used robotic milkers, which students were intrigued by. The milking process is all done by a machine, meaning there is no need for human interaction. 

  Junior Chris Miller said, “The coolest part of the trip was watching the milking carousel.” The dairy cattle get on a rotating platform and after a few rotations they are all done milking. All the workers have to do is hook and unhook the equipment used for milking.  

  The facility was very open about the process they use to milk cows, and the steps they go through to get the cattle to the stage of their life to milk them. Senior Gracey Malmberg enjoyed this, claiming, “They were really transparent about the milking process and explained things the way they are.” 

  Students were also able to tour a building on the main property of Fair Oaks Farms that showed how and where different crops are grown. This farm shows the modern farming practice and the importance of constantly improving their technology. 

  While students were at the farm they got to experience some cows giving birth at what is called the Birthing Barn. For many students this was the first time they were able to witness a live animal birth.

  Each student who attended agreed that touring Fair Oaks Farms was an informational and neat experience. Students were able to learn more about modern day farming processes. Students are hopeful that this field trip will occur again next year so that other agriculture members can gain this valuable experience.