A highlight of the event is the Jefferson County Dairy Parade, this year scheduled for 7 p.m. today. The theme is Moo Fest Parade, tying in with the Dairy Festival going on all day in the Dulles State Office Building on Washington Street, Watertown.
About 60 groups will take part in the parade, including many farm organizations and displays of many different types of farm equipment used in Jefferson County. The parade begins at Watertown High School and heads down Washington Street.
According to the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce website, the Moo Fest Parade theme was chosen because it portrays the excitement Jefferson County has about the county’s dairy industry.
The festival itself begins at 9 a.m. at the Dulles State Office Building and includes exhibits and demonstrations from many farm groups, including Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, Great Lakes Cheese and Crowley Foods. The dairy princess and her court also will be on hand. Crafters join the festival beginning at 3 p.m.
Ag officials in the county state Jefferson County boasts more than 200 dairy farms, 30,000 dairy cows and two dairy manufacturers (Great Lakes Cheese in Adams and Crowley Foods. Nearly eight billion eight-ounce glasses of milk are produced in Jefferson County every year.
JeffersonCountydairyfarms.com states Jefferson County is a major milk producing area in the state, ranking fourth in total milk production behind behind Wyoming, Cayuga and St. Lawrence counties.
The website also states about 700 people work on the county's dairy farms and the average hourly rate paid to dairy farm employees was more than $13 per hour plus benefits.
About 200 people work in the county's dairy manufacturing plants and another 200 to 300 people work in farm service businesses and organizations that directly service dairy farms.
Go to http://www.jeffersoncountydairyfarms.com/ for more information about dairy farming in Jefferson County.