Young people interested in dairy or animal science are invited to spend a couple of Saturdays in June exploring the fun of dairy cattle. Thumb Dairy Odyssey, in its second year, is a series of fun and educational hands-on workshops being offered in Huron and Tuscola counties this year, however, you do not have to be from one of these counties to attend.

This hands-on youth program teaches young people about the dairy industry, introduces youth to career options in agriculture and strengthens skills used in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H competitions. In 2016, Thumb Dairy Odyssey saw 61 youth participate along with 21 parents and 33 community volunteers. The program resulted in more participants in local fairs and a Thumb area quiz bowl team. Participants also said they learned about new career options in agriculture and were interested in a career they learned about.

The first of the 2017 programs will take place on Saturday, June 17. Visit Paramount Enterprises Dairy in Caro, Michigan to learn the finer points of showmanship and displaying your animal’s best traits. Find out what judges look for in you and your animal when showing. Discover some of the details of getting your cow or heifer ready to show. Participants will also learn about animal health and how important it is to farms of all sizes and what can be done to improve animal health.

On Saturday, June 24, Dairy Odyssey Days will take place on Prime Land Farms, Harbor Beach. The topics on this day will include ‘How Milk is Made’, ‘Hoof Health’ and ‘Crossbreeding’. Discover how a cow produces milk inside the udder and how the milk is then extracted from the udder. Attendees will also explore hoof trimming and how dairy farms maintain hoof health. Finally, learn about the genetics and advantages behind crossbreeding cattle.

This program is designed for ages 9-19, but all youth whether farm kids, city kids, country kids, FFA or 4-H members, as well non 4-H, are invited to attend. Each day will be equally beneficial as a stand-alone event, or you can attend both days. Programs will begin each day at 10 a.m. and conclude at 2:30 p.m. with lunch included. The cost is $5 per child with accompanying adults attending for free. To register for this event please visit https://events.anr.msu.edu/dairyodyssey2017/ or visit the Huron County Extension Office 1142 S Van Dyke Road, Suite 200, Bad Axe. For more information call (989) 269-9949 or email mbuza@anr.msu.edu.