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Second Year of Dairy Cow Birthing Center at NYS Fair

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Second Year of Dairy Cow Birthing Center at NYS Fair
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NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- The new addition to the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, Sven, arrived Saturday too early for crowds to catch his arrival, but just in time to attract visitors.

"Last year we stopped in here and saw, like, four or five births, one right after the other. It was pretty amazing. I was brought up as a youngster on a farm, so it's real interesting," said Bill Pindle, a Bridgeport resident.

Organizers said that kind of familiarity with farm life is becoming more and more rare, judging by a recent crowd's response to this question.

"'Anybody that had been on a farm, raise your hand.' There was probably 200 or 300 people in here, and not a single person raised their hand. That's sad to me, and it also explains why consumers don't necessarily understand always what we're doing to produce milk," said Jessica Ziehm, the NYAAC executive director.

The birthing center has helped with that.

It was so popular in its first year that it had to expand this time around with a bigger tent, double the seating, and screens that offer a close-up look at the pens.

But the spirit of the exhibit is the same, with visitors being urged to talk to workers and ask lots of questions.

"It's such a great way of life to teach people that you work for what you get, you don't just go to the store and get it, so I think it's a wonderful opportunity for character building as well," said Tina McFarland, a Bethel resident.

There are things you can do to support New York dairy farmers throughout the year. One of the easiest is look for the code 36 in the plant code on dairy products, that means the product is from a New York plant and likely a New York farm.

Farmers said you don't have to wait for the fair to learn about where your food comes from.

"Take advantage of the opportunities out there when you see an Open Farm Sunday or an open house at a farm, go to those events and try to educate yourself the best that you can about what farmers are doing," said Ziehm.

With changes continuously taking place, they said there's always something new to learn.

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