By IKE WILSON
The Frederick News-Post
MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) — South Mountain Creamery went live about two weeks ago with Animal Planet television, streaming video online of chicks and calves.
Since Discovery Communications installed 11 cameras, the family owned farm in Middletown has received 200,000 hits so far, and marketing and media coordinator Adrienne Moretz said her social media reach increased by 200 percent.
The partnership with Animal TV is indefinite, Moretz said, and the project has been recognized by USA Today and The New York Times, bringing attention to the local creamery.
“What a great opportunity and exposure for a Frederick County farm,” said David Price, a marketing consultant who helped organized a recent U.S. Department of Commerce tour of the farm to showcase American farming methods to a delegation of 18 international business leaders from eight Eurasian countries.
“Once again, this is evidence that SMC is a national leader in agriculture and food production,” he said.
Nearly 100,000 people tuned in to see Discovery Communications’ unfiltered, around-the-clock access to the baby chicks and calves, and saw the SMC logo when the project was launched initially, Price said.
“I fully expect the calves and the chicks to start getting fan mail,” Price said. “I was at the farm today, and a family from Loudon, Va., came to feed the calves because they saw them online.”
Animal Planet began the partnership with South Mountain about two years ago with the kitten cam.
“It was so popular that they have expanded,” Moretz said. “The public can access and now view our baby chicks and our calves at http://www.apl.tv. You can watch baby calves find their legs and explore a whole new world. Spring has sprung for these adorable chicks that play all the time.”
Price said firetrucks showed up recently at the farm, but there was no fire. Someone was watching the webcams in the chick house and called the fire department because they thought it was on fire.
“It was actually just the glow from the heat lamps that are on to heat the baby chicks,” Price said. “The police officer said it was the first time in his life he ever went on a fire call that originated from a webcam.”
Totally green in 2015
South Mountain Creamery’s goal is to be a self-sustaining company by 2015.
“That means we use our own resources to power the farm, and we like to call it `from field to fork,”‘ Moretz said.
The creamery’s plan includes installing a methane digester, soybean press, wind turbines, solar energy, geothermal loops and a biodiesel plant.
The creamery is working with contracted companies, Red Barn Consultants and Lightning Whistle Solutions, to find energy grants and additional funding for the projects, Moretz said.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)