September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Come on, kids! Let's find her!
And off they go, marching to the barn to see the famous Brown Swiss cow that has become the defacto mascot of Majestic View Dairy.
That scene has played out countless times for a dozen years at this 1,100-cow farm near Lancaster, Wis. It's part of the good-neighbor, public relations efforts of Ron and Terri Abing, co-owners and on-site managers of the Grant County operation.
The children seeking Miss Swissy are preschoolers. Terri and calf manager Sara Recker lead the groups of youngsters, teachers and parents in the search for the bodacious bovine.
As they go marching in, children and adults alike sing the words that let the cow know it's time for her to occupy the spotlight: "Miss Swissy! Miss Swissy!" Hearing the words, the cooperative cow invariably stands, stretches, strolls over and lets everyone pet her.
"She loves kids," Terri said. "If she hears those kids coming, she gets up and walks down to greet them. They have a blast with her."
Miss Swissy is so confident in her role that she noses the Holsteins away.
"No. These are my kids," Terri said, explaining Miss Swissy's behavior. "You Holsteins stay back. These are my kids."
The cow, Terri continued, "will not let a Holstein come up and sniff the kids or anything. She'll clear 'em out."
This is the second Miss Swissy. Terri suspects she and her predecessor picked up their predilection for showing off by being - shown off - at fairs by Amanda, one of the Abings' daughters.
"She's always been one of those calves: 'I'm a princess and I know it,'" Terri explained.
It's important, the Abings say, for nonfarm people to have a place to go to pet calves, see cows and gain a sense of what dairy farming is really all about. Majestic View Dairy's buildings set near the city limits of Lancaster, a community of 4,000. Even in what can still be considered a small, rural town, some people have no idea what farming entails. Thus the tours.
"People come out and see what we're doing. Then they're not so intimidated by us (a larger dairy farm)."
Among the many tours Majestic View Dairy gives are those aimed at second graders from area schools. Those youngsters "adopt" cows each year. When that cow calves, the second-grader names the newborn calf.
Recker, the calf manager, photographs each cow before it calves, and sends the pictures to the school. Later, she sends birth announcements, such as: "Your cow, number 2181, has had a baby girl (heifer)."
The next step is for the children to visit "their" calves and feed them. Each[[In-content Ad]]
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