Vt. farmers invite the public for a look behind the scenes

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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) "I had no idea they had as many cows as they do at this farm so it's pretty great," said Sara Desilets of Essex.

It's something Sara Desilets of Essex and her kids and their friend wouldn't know without the help of Vermont Open Farm Week.

"I thought it would be good for the kids to see firsthand kind of how we get our milk and just to kind of see the equipment they have here," Desilets said.

Open Farm Week mixes cuteness with knowledge, as the tours go through the calf area and then over to the robotic milking station.

"It's done very well for us. We're really pleased with it," said Onan Whitcomb, one of the owners of the North Williston Cattle Company.

Kids and adults can enjoy events designed to give consumers a rare look into the products they see on store shelves.

"We feel it's real important because we get a chance to interact with the public, and in our line of work we don't, we produce a commodity, we don't generally interact with our consumer," Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb hopes Open Farm Week will churn some inspiration.

"When my kids were in school they were the only farm kids," Whitcomb said.

Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts says interest in agriculture is fading among young people, so he hopes events like Open Farm Week will inspire the next generation of farmers.

"This really helps bring young people, introduces them to it. And, hey, they may want to work on a farm. They may be introduced to a farm, they may want to eventually have a career in farming," Tebbetts said.

From learning how the cows are milked to daily life on the farm, Open Farm Week entertains and hopefully educates.

"They're letting us get right in there and see what's going on with it," Desilets said. "I couldn't believe some of the computer technology they have; it's amazing. We're just really thankful that we have this opportunity."