1/19/2013 7:00 AM
By Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade Special Sections Editor
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Milking the dairy cow is a normal, twice-a-day occurrence on a dairy farm, although most cows these days are milked by automated milkers.
Last week, however, several dairymen and their novice teammates got to demonstrate some old-school milking skills during the annual Farm Show Celebrity Milking Contest.
State Agriculture Secretary George Greig coached his team to pump out 2.2 pounds of milk in the timed event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Team members included the second lady of Pennsylvania, Suzanne Cawley; state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland; Matt Barcaro, WGAL-TV news reporter; and Victoria Page-Wooten, executive deputy general counsel.
The contest was in the Equine Arena following the supreme champion dairy cow announcement.
Greig said that Bloom was the only other team member who had ever milked a cow before — at last year’s contest.
After selecting the Ayrshire for his team, Greig quickly provided tips on how to stimulate a cow for milk letdown and how to milk by hand.
“I showed them how to rub the udder and if you are nice to them, (the cow) will let her milk down,” he said.
Greig is a former farmer, who spent most of his career milking cows.
As part of the contest, each team captain served as the relay anchor. Greig stepped up to his cow and showed his experience as he used both hands to milk his cow with accurate aim into the pitcher instead of holding the pitcher close and milking one-handed.
The efforts of his team helped Grieg to outmilk last year’s champion, state Sen. Elder Vogel, R- Rochester, and his team Moo-ves Like Jagger.
Vogel, along with General Services Secretary Sheri Phillips, ABC-27 News anchor Valerie Pritchett, Larry Kasper of PCN and Legislative Affairs Secretary Christopher Carusone, milked 1.1 pounds.
Vogel also operates a dairy farm in addition to serving as chairman for the Senate’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
“I think there is a bond between people and animals. People come here to have a good time,” Greig said, referring to both the contest and the Farm Show in general.
The two other teams in the contest were captained by state dairy princess Maria Jo Noble, 0.7 pounds, and alternate dairy princess Heather Wasson, 0.4 pounds.