Promoting lifelong dairy lovers
Location: New Bremen, Ohio
Central White Heart Award Winner
Teaching students about dairy farming and food
Supporting dairy farming through the community
“We’ve had hundreds of preschoolers visit our dairy to learn about farming and become lifelong milk drinkers, cheese lovers, ice cream fanatics, yogurt enthusiasts, and butter believers who understand the importance of farmers.”
Kathryn Frankenberg from Frankenberg Family Farm shared this in her nomination of preschool teacher Maria Lammers for Cargill’s White Heart Award. Maria, or Miss Maria as her students know her, is the owner and preschool teacher at The Learning Tree Preschool in Auglaize County, Ohio. Part of her curriculum for her young students is going on an annual field trip to Frankenberg Family Farm.
“I know children these days are removed from the production of their food and don't always know where it actually comes from,” explains Kathryn. “I'm just so thankful that Maria takes the time to teach that to the children who go through her preschool.”
Frankenberg Family Farm is just around the corner from The Learning Tree Preschool and has been Maria’s resource for spring farm tours for many years. However, Maria’s passion to teach children about dairy farming and dairy products stems from her own roots. She grew up on a dairy farm and her and her husband still own and raise Brown Swiss cattle.
“Having grown up on a dairy farm and having first-hand knowledge of where my food comes from is why I see the importance of taking my students on this field trip.”
Maria says that dairy farming has always been very important to her and since her preschool is actually located in her home, which is out in the country, a lot of her students come from an agricultural background.
“You know when the choppers are in the field, when they're working ground, or hauling manure, the children are all into it and want to be a part of it,” shares Maria.
As far as receiving the award, Kathryn and Cargill representative, Laura Homan, surprised Maria with it by delivering it to her classroom. Maria says she remembered Kathryn sharing with her that she nominated her, but didn’t think too much about it. After being awarded it was hard for her to put into words just how much she appreciates the award and what it represents.
“I think many people do not realize how hard it is to be a farmer and make ends meet. People outside the industry don't understand all of the hard work and time that goes into it and what kind of a toll that takes not only on the farmers but on their families, as well. Cargill shedding light on farmers’ mental health and spreading positivity is very important.”
Kathryn shared in this sentiment and notes that to successfully dairy farm it takes support from so many people within the community.
She says she will definitely be nominating someone next year and the year after; “Our neighbors, the veterinarian, the milkmen who pick up our milk every day, our nutritionist, the hoof trimmer, there are so many deserving people that promote the dairy industry and help us produce quality milk.”