Farm Day: Students learn about life on the farm (gallery)
Published 3:00 am Friday, September 26, 2014
For one morning in late September, every third-grade student in Pike County “lived” on a farm. On that morning, they bumped elbows with a tractor, rubbed noses with a fluffy baby chick, and “crawled” around underground with snakes and mice.
The students learned about cotton, peanuts and corn. They discovered that goats give milk, that horses have tender spots and that germs are hard rascals to remove.
Early Thursday morning, 450 third-graders were down on Cattleman Park farm and were ready and eager to get going with their chores.
Third-Grade Farm Day was sponsored by the Pike County Young Farmers/Farmers Federation, Pike County Extension, Pike County Cattlemen’s Association, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Farm-City Committee.
“In past years, we have taken the ‘farm’ to the different schools,” said Jessica Morris, president of the Pike County Young Farmers and event coordinator. “This year, we decided to bring the kids to the farm. They seemed to really enjoy being on the farm.”
Morris said she was pleased that the students from all schools were interested in what Farm Day offered.
“Children are always excited about animals but what impressed and surprised me was how interested they were in the field crops and the natural resources,” she said. “Even the kids who are more familiar with farm life benefited from the knowledge of experts in their fields who also had life experiences to share.”
Morris said the idea behind Third Grade Farm Day was to introduce the children to the world of agriculture in a fun and educational way. Children need to know about and appreciate the world around them, she said.
“Pike County fourth-graders learn about water and fifth-graders learn about forestry,” Morris said. “By participating in Farm Day, the third graders will now be able to identify crops as they go down the road. That way they will be more aware of Pike County agriculture.”
Morris said those involved with Farm Day will look at ways to improve on the inaugural event and will invite input from others in the community who are passionate about agriculture.
Karen Smith, third-grade teacher at Banks, said from all indications, Third-Grade Farm Day was a great success.
“It was a great day,” Smith said. “The children had a wonderful time. It was hands-on and they all learned something. Farm Day was well organized and I liked the way they rotated from station to station. The children didn’t stay at an one station too long and that kept their interest high.”
Smith said bringing the farm to the schools was a good learning experience but having the students “go” to the farm was an even better one.
“Farm Day is certainly a good learning experience and hopefully it will be a regular event,” she said.
Third Grade Farm Day featured 12 topic stations. The topics and presenters were: Cotton, William Birdsong, Extension; Peanut, Kris Balkcom, Extension; Corn, Brandon Dillard, Extension; Tractor Safety, Colin Morris, Goshen Farmers Co-op; Venomous Snakes, Jordan Graves, Extension; Horses, Ester Gilbreth and Mary Pettway, Goshen FFA; Soils, Debra Huggins-Davis, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Josh Elliot, NRCS; Hand Washing, Bridget Brannon, Extension; Chemical Safety, Ms. Edwards, Extension; Chicken, Michael Simmons and Nicole Nichols, Wayne Farms, and Heath Wesley, Extension; Milk Goats, James Kirkland, farmer; Ag Academy, instructors.
Morris said she would like to express appreciation to all the presenters and to the volunteers from the Ag Academy, 4-H Youth Council, Linton Tractor Company, Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Alabama Soybean Producers and South Alabama Electric Co-op.