Charles Kelley shared a secret with a baby chick at the mini-farm tour held at Pike Manor Health Care Center yesterday. The tour was conducted by Pike County Young Farmers Association members, Billy H

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Mini-Farm tour visits Troy

Elementary and Pike Manor


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Features Editor

Farming feeds America.

That’s what the Pike County Young Farmers Association wanted to impress upon young minds and remind older ones with their mini-farm tour Tuesday.

The mini-farm tours are conducted each year in connection with Farm City Week which will be celebrated this year Nov. 16-22.

Three young Pike County farmers, Billy Hixon, Brock Davis and Joe Murphy, conducted the mini-farm tour at Troy Elementary School and Pike Manor Health Care Center and found that age made little difference in the delight as seeing farm animals up close – and live.

"We live in a rural area and most children have seen farm animals, at least from a distance, but many of them have not had an opportunity to see them up close."

And, hear them and smell them.

"Some of the children seemed surprised that the animals did have a smell," Murphy said, with a smile.

However, the residents at Pike Manor seemed comfortable with the farm animals – smell and all.

"I’ve been around farm animals all my life and I like being around them," said Charles Kelley. "I’m proud to get to see these cows and pig and hold these little biddies."

Murphy said the purpose of the mini-tours is to educate people about farming in Pike County and to promote agriculture as a part of Farm City Week activities.

"Children know about farms, but many of them don’t associate the farm with what is served on their plates; there’s a gap." Hixon said. "We visit the schools to help fill that gap."

Children in Pike County have a better understanding of the interaction between farm and city than children in large metropolitan areas.

"Some of those children have no idea where their food comes from," Hixon said. "If we could take these mini-farm tours all over the nation and talk to the kids, it would make a difference in the nation’s attitude toward the farmer."

The young farmers quizzed the kids about the farm and how their lives are dependant on the American farmer.

"We asked them if they had breakfast this morning, and they all said they did," Hixon said. "We asked them if they had a roof over their heads and they all said they did. We asked them if they were all wearing clothes, and they were. Then we told them all of those things came from the farm."

The young farmers used the students’ knowledge of what is happening in Afganistan to impress upon them the importance of farming and agriculture.

"They all said they had see children in Afganistan who were starving and dying," Hixon said. "I told them those same conditions would exist in our own country if the farmer ever stopped producing. That made an impression on some of them, I’m sure."

The students were also asked whether they had rather have a room full of toys or a room full of food.

"That was a tough question," Davis said. "Some of them said toys, but when they considered what would happen when they got hungry, they decided food would be a better choice.

Without food, nothing else matters, Hixon said.

No matter how many missiles you have or how strong your army or how many toys you have, if you don’t have food, none of that matters."

And, what matter most today is that fewer than 2 pecent of the population of the United States feeds America.

Each farmer produces enough food for 100 Americans, 28 others and YOU.

"If we have made just one student more understanding of the role the farmers plays and how important agriculture is to all of us, then the time we spend with the mini-farm tour is more than worthwhile."

Farm City Week will be celebrated Nov. 16-22. During that time, stop and give a farmer a pat on the back. They deserve it.