Whitmire’s Dairy Alliance Grant Takes VR to the Counties

A member of the audience tries out the VR Dairy Experience.

The Opportunity

Thanks to generous support from The Dairy Alliance, County Extension Centers across North Carolina are eligible to apply for and receive reimbursement for one of 25 sets of virtual reality headsets that are part of the Discover NC Dairy 360° effort launched in 2017. Discover NC Dairy 360° is a virtual reality experience in 3-D with headsets that provide an immersive experience for individual viewers.

Focused on a scientific, objective and practical portrayal of the dairy sector of North Carolina’s agricultural economy, Discover NC Dairy 360° is a consumer-friendly tool for Extension educators. Discover NC Dairy 360° is part of a larger effort called Discover NC Dairy that includes the virtual reality component, as well as an online series of 11 videos that are approximately 2 – 2.5 minutes in length with topics ranging from the calf nursery to the milking parlor to waste storage and management.

We envision these virtual reality (VR) headsets transporting viewers into the world of farming and food.  In NC, we already have VR videos for dairy and swine, and other commodities are developing VR offerings that can be added to the headsets.  These VR videos are designed to target non-farming consumers, from wee toddlers through senior citizens, as the content is designed for general audiences.

The headsets can be used at events as large as the NC State Fair and as small as a wellness event to connect your target audiences to farming and the value of those farm products, especially dairy, to their diets.  Consumers all over NC are looking for ways to connect to their food and learn more about how it’s made.   This technology allows people to feel as if they are actually visiting the place that they are seeing and hearing in the headset – a farm, a parlor, a nursery, a bottling plant, etc.

Testimonials

“We have used VR goggles for the past year to showcase the pork industry. We have used them for both kids and adults with great success. They are easy to use for school ag days, ag awareness events, farm shows, festivals, and other meetings to promote livestock. Kids love the virtual reality simulation and “interacting” with the animals and the equipment.” Eve Honeycutt, Agent, Lenoir & Greene Counties  

“When we debuted Discover NC Dairy 360, we had folks lined up at our booth.  The feedback we received included statements like, “Wow, I never knew there was so much for a dairy farmer to do; I thought they just milked cows” and “That was so cool – I have never been on an actual farm.”  This is a great way to use new, exciting technology to bring consumers to the farm – virtually –  to experience how their food is made.  The possibilities are endless, and you can use them to augment the programming around farming and food that you are already doing or plan to do!”  Brittany Whitmire, Associate, NCSU-ARE

How

The deadline for submitting an electronic application has been extended to noon on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.  Applications are available at this website:  https://dairy.ces.ncsu.edu/discover-nc-dairy-360-vr-headsets-project/.  

Completed applications should be submitted to discoverncdairy@ncsu.edu before noon on 2/20/19.

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