Cayuga County cows to be featured at NYS Fair’s birthing exhibit

August 23, 2016 GMT

GEDDES — If you visit the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at this year’s New York State Fair, you may see the arrival of Cayuga County’s newest calf.

The popular exhibit will feature 36 pregnant cows from six central New York farms — three of which are based in Cayuga County. Each farm will bring six cows and three calves will be delivered daily at the fair.

The Cayuga County farms participating in the exhibit are Fessenden Dairy of King Ferry, Pine Hollow Dairy of Locke and Sunnyside Farm of Scipio Center.

The other farms that will send cows for the exhibit are Walnut Ridge Dairy in Lansing, Twin Birch Farm in Skaneateles and Venture Farms in Tully.

Eileen Jensen of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition said the purpose of the dairy cow birthing center is to educate fairgoers and highlight dairy farms in New York.

“We’re doing that by bringing in cows that will have calves right here on site throughout the 12 days of the fair,” she said at the fair’s media day Tuesday.

This is the fourth year the exhibit has been part of the fair’s lineup. It’s one of the fair’s most popular attractions. Last year, the center drew more than 230,000 attendees during the fair’s 12-day run.

The center will be in a new location this year. It will be located near the west end of Broadway, one of the fair’s main streets, past the midway and close to a new picnic area on the fairgrounds.

“We’re really, really excited about this new location,” Jensen said.

A large inflatable dairy cow will be posted outside of the exhibit’s entrance. Jensen said there will be a social media campaign to encourage fairgoers to take selfies with the inflatable cow. The hashtag for the campaign is #wowthatcow.

If you can’t make it out to the fair, you’ll be able to follow the action at the dairy cow birthing center online. A live 24-hour webcam is available online at uddermiracles.com. Jensen said they’ve had people from China, South Africa and South America watch the live feed.

Other new features include:

• A play area for children who are waiting for the birth of a calf. Kids can dig into a box filled with corn or practice milking a fiberglass cow. A trivia wheel will give fairgoers a chance to win prizes if they can correctly answer agriculture-themed questions.

• A couple of new technological advancements will be utilized in the exhibit. Organizers have installed fans and misting systems to help keep the cows cool. And they will utilize a device called Moocall, which is attached to a cow’s tail and can detect when it’s on the verge of giving birth.

Jensen said there’s only 50 of the devices being used by farmers throughout New York, so they’re eager to experiment with it at the fair.

“We’re really excited to try these out and see what they’re all about and see how they work,” she said.

There will be more than 350 volunteers working in the exhibit to help educate attendees on not only the birthing process, but the dairy industry and agriculture as a whole.

“We want to bridge that gap between the consumer and the farm,” Jensen said.

The fair begins Thursday and will run through Sept. 5.