Bovine Role in Human Geography


What does milking a cow have to do with geography? Surprisingly, a lot. Our AP Human Geography class visited a local dairy farm as part of their unit on agriculture to better understand the costs and process of milk production. Maintaining a herd of livestock requires a lot of natural resources, from feed for the cows to the electricity required to run the milking machines. Despite our high consumption of dairy products, few people know much about the time, energy and thought that goes into producing milk, cheese and yogurt.

This hands-on experience helped students connect the global implications of the dairy industry – such as the environmental toll of production and transport – by seeing how much work it takes to produce a smaller supply at a local level.

Student Thoughts
“During our agriculture unit, I gave some thought to where my food came from but actually seeing a real dairy farm was extremely different than just thinking about one. I found the amount of work that must be done each day to keep the farm running to be shocking!” – Emma D.

“It’s kind of scary how few people know how to farm in developed countries like ours compared to the number of people eating the food.” – Sarah T.

“One thing I found fascinating was how they have now been able to improve offspring by ordering sperm for artificial insemination to breed well-developed dairy cows.” – Alisha M.

“I used to think that farms were located far away from the cities. Now I understand that because the truck needs to pick up the milk so often, it is much more logical to have it close to the market. I love that Mr. Aylard loves what he does and sees the importance of it.” – Paris L.

“I had never milked a cow until today, which was awesome! It was also very interesting to see how much work and technology goes into running a small dairy farm.” – Zach K.


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