SPRINGFIELD – A State Fair tradition for many includes seeing the butter cow and another involves actually milking a cow.
The Milk-a-Cow booth in the Hall of Champions building proves to be a crowd favorite year after year. The fundraiser for the University of Illinois Dairy Club helps with different student activities throughout the year.
“Basically, we bring a few cows over from the dairy farm and we allow the public a chance to come in and see them, squeeze a little milk out of the udder and it seems to be a big hit,” says Henry Hoene, U of I dairy farm manager.
Hoene has met several individuals over the last several days of the State Fair who make a point to stop by the booth every year.
“A lot of them said they came over and milked a cow when they were young and now they are here with their children. It’s neat to see the family traditions keep going.”
The booth opens at 10 a.m. each day of the fair and there is usually a line out the door around 9:45. Those milking a cow get a button and a coupon for a free product from the nearby Prairie Farms trailer.
Research is ongoing at the U of I dairy farm as Hoene employs several students at the facility. He oversees animal care, training of students, building maintenance and care for the grounds. Hoene also coordinates with researchers to make sure they have the animals they need for projects.
“We really like cows and think everyone should like cows,” Hoene added.
For more information, search for the U of I dairy club online. The club is a part of the department of animal sciences at the school.