Thursday, April 3, 2008 | Posted By Karen Axelrod in Factory Tours
Spring is a great time for taking not just factory tours but also farm tours, and in the pages of Watch It Made in the U.S.A. you can read about many tours of working agricultural sites, from the central valley of California to the cherry orchards of Michigan. One unusual farm you can tour is nestled in the Susquehanna River Valley of Pennsylvania—not too far from both Philadelphia and Baltimore. Located in Brogue, Hope Acres (www.thebrowncow.net) is one of only a few robotic dairy farms in the United States—yes, you read that right: a robotic dairy farm. Apparently, research shows that the best milk comes from happy cows who live comfortable lives. Thanks to the robotic technology of Hope Acres, its milk cows live in stress-free luxury with minimal human involvement.
A tour of the barn shows the cows' cozy conditions and the advanced technology that attends them. The cows stand or recline on thin waterbeds that cover the floor under a layer of sawdust. This forgiving surface helps to protect the cows’ joints, which (like yours) would become sore after hours of lying on a hard floor. If a cow has an itchy spot, she can saunter to an automated backscratcher—the cows have learned that this rotating stiff-bristle brush can scratch hard-to-reach places. Whenever a cow feels the discomfort of a full udder, she wanders into a room in which robots perform milking duties 24 hours a day. Laser-guided technology attaches the milkers, and the robots gently extract milk without causing the stress that human intervention can. Your guide will show you the “cow cookies” that help train the animals to seek the robots when their udders need to relieve the pressure of milk. Lastly, you visit the barn that houses new-born calves—always a treat for children.
For more information about this tour and many other agricultural tours throughout the country, see Watch It Made in the U.S.A.
Posted By Karen Axelrod at 11:36 AM in Category:Factory Tours
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