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Ellie May and friend come to Critzer

By WILLIAM PAINE

william.paine@southwesttimes.com

This week, much to the delight of the student body, the Mobile Dairy Classroom, featuring Ellie May the cow, came to Critzer Elementary School.

Several third, fourth and fifth-grade students gathered around bovine expert Steve Branecky as he told them everything they ever wanted to know about cows and milk production. For example, most all cows in the U.S. are either Holstein, the black and white breed featured in Chick-Fil-A ads, or the slightly smaller Jersey cow breed, which has a reddish color. Here’s a little known fact shared by Branecky, most cows sleep about 14 hours a day and spend eight hours each day eating. At least a few of the students at Critzer were aware that cows have four stomachs.

The Mobile Dairy Classroom is a promotional organization sponsored by the Southland Dairy Farmers, which is mainly comprised of dairy farm families in the south and southwest.

“We get to go around to the schools and talk about the dairy lifestyle and nutrition and everything that the kids may not get exposed to with their regular education,” said Branecky. “So, it’s a good supplement to what they’re learning.”

Throughout his discussion Branecky urged the children of Critzer to repeat after him as he said, “Milk drinkers grow up to be big, strong and healthy!”

The highlight of of the Mobile Dairy Classroom presentation was without question the milking of Ellie May, who as a first year milking heifer weighs about 800 pounds and produces about 23 pounds of milk per day. A full grown Holstein normally weighs about 1,800 pound and produces 65 pounds of milk per day.

After Branecky applied a milking machine to Ellie May’s utters, her milk began to flow into a large glass jug affixed to the Mobile Dairy Classroom trailer. At several points during the presentation, students and maybe even some teachers present were heard to express their delight with either an “ooh” or an “aaah.”

Director of Nutrition for the Pulaski County School System, Ethelene Saddler, invited Branecky and his Mobile Dairy Classroom to come to Critzer Elementary School. Thursday, Ellie May and friends will be showing their wares at Snowville Elementary followed by an appearance at Max Meadows Friday. The staff at Riverlawn Elementary School also expressed interest in the Mobile Dairy Classroom coming to their school.

Saddler said she is making arraignments now to get Ellie May and friend to Riverlawn in the upcoming weeks.

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