The dairy diaries

Oct. 21—New Mexico has a long history when it comes to the dairy industry — one that dates back to 1598.

The New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces continues to work at educating the public about the thriving industry.

Beginning Saturday, Oct. 29, museum officials have a new resource in their educational arsenal.

The Dairy Spot: Discovery Center is set to open to the public with a special celebration from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, Oct. 29.

Caliche’s Frozen Custard will be on site to provide a free 5-ounce serving to the first 500 visitors, and guests are invited to make their own ice cream using Ziplock bags.

Milking and other demonstrations also are part of the fun.

According to the museum, the renovation is more child-friendly and consists of more interactive exhibits.

The Southwest Dairy Farmers’ $30,000 donation to the museum last year made the renovation possible.

“Our long-standing partnership with the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum continues to build on our objectives to educate young and old alike about the dairy industry and the good, nutritional, and wholesome products produced by New Mexico and American dairy farmers,” said Jim Hill, CEO of Southwest Dairy Farmers.

The partnership between Southwest Dairy Farmers and the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum is a natural one, sharing the goal of preserving the history of dairy farming in New Mexico and educating the public about this important industry.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with Southwest Dairy that began 25 years ago,” said Heather Reed, museum executive director. “Together, we produced an innovative and immersive exhibit that showcases the depth of our history and explores the present-day advances in agriculture.”

Reed said visitors to The Dairy Spot will enjoy videos of ice cream making, the process of pasteurization, and farm to table. Some of the topics featured in The Dairy Spot are the breeds of cattle, sources of milk from around the world, a dairy’s anatomy, nutrition, cheese, ice cream, butter, and lots of fun facts. Among the interactives are a butter churn, a cheese fridge, and an “I Spy” activity featuring a house with various dairy products.

The dairy industry plays an important role in the story of New Mexico agriculture as the first cattle were brought to this region by the Spanish in 1598.

The importance of dairies in New Mexico is reflected in the national statistics where the state currently ranks ninth in milk production and fifth in cheese production, Reed said.

The Dairy Spot: Discovery Center celebration

WHEN: 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, Oct. 29

WHERE: New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road, Las Cruces

HOW MUCH: $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 for children ages 4-17

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