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Experience programs at milk farms

Posted July. 11, 2013 07:37,   


“Holy cow! Have you ever seen a cow peeing? It pees a lot!”

On Saturday morning at a milk farm in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, about a hundred cows filled a cowshed. Curious children took a sneaky approach to cows and lured the animals by waiving hay. Fascinated by cows taking hay with their long tongues, children would not move fixing their eyes on the mammals. But when a cow suddenly began peeing pouring out lots of urine like a waterfall, all the children ran away at the speed of light. But then they began to laugh looking at each others’ faces.

The children came to the farm with their parents who are members of an Internet cafe titled “Moms in Ilsan,” and a total of 36 members and their families who applied for a program named “Milk School” for the milk farm experience came together.

Lee Yeong-ah, 38, the manager of the Internet cafe, came with her 8-year-old daughter and said, “People think a farm stinks and is dirty, but this place is clean and doesn’t smell bad. It was good to come here because children loved watching cows. I think the children will cherish their memory from here.”

There is variety of activities in which parents and children can participate, including giving milk to caves, feeding cows with hay, horse riding, feeding horses, archery and making cheese and pizza.

Among these, horse riding and archery are loved the most. Children can ride on one-meter tall small horses called “Shuttle Land Pony” and enjoy horse riding for about 100 meters. Boys love to try archery with their fathers. Targets with a tiger’s face are set up 50 meters away.

A two-story building next to the cowshed, where children can learn how to make cheese, was filled with children’s laughter. Children play with cheese in hot water by touching and stretching it. They also make pizza by spreading sauce on thin pizza dough and decorating it with their hand-made cheese, vegetables and fruits. Children are allowed to take home cheese and pizza they made. They can also taste fruit dipped in yogurt made from fresh milk.

Ji Jung-yeol, 40, the ranch owner, said, “Children appreciate nature through the Milk School program by experiencing a milk farm. I think more farms will provide experiencing programs to people down the road.”

Since 2007 Gyeonggi Province has selected 11 milk farms out of 3,430 farms to establish Milk Schools and gave 200 million won (176,000 U.S. dollars) to each selected farm. One or two farms are designated as Milk School each year after conducting a due diligence on facilities, sanitary status, properness and differentiation of programs of ranches recommended by cities or counties. The operation and management of Milk Schools is regularly checked by the city or county government.

In the beginning, about 12,000 people had used the farm experiencing programs at Milk Schools. But last year saw about 124,000 visitors. Usually, a group of 20 to 30 people come together. Programs vary according to the farms, and admission fees range from 15,000 won (13 dollars) to 25,000 won (22 dollars) per person. Visitors may have to pay extra fees for optional programs.

Some caution needs to be taken. Children need to be told not to scream when riding on a horse in order not to surprise the horse. Standing on the rear side of a horse is dangerous because the horse might kick the person with hind legs. Therefore children must stand on the side or front of their horses. When feeding horses or cows, children should not put their fingers in the mouth of the animal. When making cheese, children should be careful not to burn themselves at hot ovens.