Local News

Cows a Hit in Downtown LaPorte

(LaPorte, IN) - Two dairy cows called downtown LaPorte home for a couple of hours on Saturday.  The people stopping by to see them during the farmers’ market at Lincolnway and Monroe St. were happy they did.  “I’m glad we came,” said Karen Noll, who brought her four-year old granddaughter, Kinsley.


Amber Spurr said the cows helped fill a void from not being around farm animals at the LaPorte County Fair canceled this year due to COVID-19. She and her eight-year-old son, Milo, came specifically to see the cows while others made their way over after showing up for fresh produce and other items like baked goods.  "I think it’s just sweet. We love it,” Spurr said.


A mobile classroom inside a semi-trailer belonging to Fair Oaks Farms was occupied by “Katey”, a 1,350 lb. Jersey dairy cow along with  “Andy,” a four-week-old Holstein bull calf. Dairy cows consuming 100 pounds of feed and roughly 36 gallons of water for every eight to ten gallons of milk produced per day was among the knowledge shared on what it takes to fill refrigerators with the nutrient-rich beverage.


Fair Oaks Farms about eight miles north of Rensselaer takes its mobile classroom to places like farmers’ markets and schools throughout the region every March to October. Most recently, the classroom was at the YMCA daycare facility in Valparaiso and the public library at Francesville before coming to LaPorte. 


Rich Knebel, a former dairy farmer at Winamac in charge of the mobile classroom, said the mission is shedding light on everything happening from the pasture to twisting the cap off a cold quart or one-gallon milk container.  He said it’s important for children to know food doesn’t show up by magic and the public wants to know more about what they consume.


People are most surprised by the amount of work it takes and the systems in place for reaching store shelves, Knebel said.   “It’s very involved.  All agriculture.  It’s not easy anymore,” he said. 


Cows having four stomachs is one of the fun, jaw-dropping for many people facts he enjoys sharing.  Dave Foreman said he hopes his three children after passing through the mobile classroom will think twice now about leaving some of the milk they pour in their glasses and cereal bowls.  “It’s a little bit more than just milking a cow,” he said.

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