By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico
When most Dairy Fest fans walked up on Ryan White’s tent Saturday, they either laughed or stopped for a photograph with the sign:
“Smells like poo…it grew.”
White’s job at Dairy Fest is to teach people about manure, and its uses — fertilizer being high on the list.
White said the sign was written to be funny and to attract people to the tent. White is a senior research assistant with the New Mexico State University Extension office.
“Nothing should be wasted,” White said. “And we’re here teaching people about the uses of the byproducts of the cattle industry.”
White’s research consists mainly of finding ways to clean up lagoon water at dairies. He said it’s important for people to learn about all parts of the industry.
“People need to learn about the entire industry. We as an industry do a poor job of teaching the public. We need to get louder,” White said.
White said he’s been at the Curry County Events Center day in and day out since Thursday. He’s planning to follow it through to the end, unlike the Shake Your Butter tent, which ran out of butter an hour and 19 minutes into the event.
Carol Calderon, nutrition educator with the Roosevelt County Extension office, said the tent handed out 2,000 vials of whipping cream and told fans to shake them for two minutes.
“And it turned to butter. It gives them more of an understanding of the process of how cream becomes butter,” she said.
United Dairy Women President Michelle Heavyside said she enjoyed booths, like Shake Your Butter, that educate people about how dairy products are made.
“It kind of brings it home that dairy products are a luxury and became so readily available only recently. I remember my grandmother talking about having to churn butter and this kind of shows you how that works,” Heavyside said.
Heavyside said the 30 dairy-theme food, game and educational booths focused on “all things produced by cows.”
Heavyside said a record more than 9,000 attended Dairy Fest this year and attributed the larger attendance to the event being held indoors at the Curry County Special Events Center.
“We always wanted to have it outside, but the fact is it’s June, we’re gonna get rain. And this way everyone knows they aren’t going to get rained on,” Heavyside said.
She said the space worked well for the event because of the large number of seats and bathrooms.