A day on the farm

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Pike County is an agricultural community but many children don’t have the opportunity to experience life on the farm.

On Tuesday, 360 third-grade students from six local schools and a group of students who are home-schooled had the opportunity to connect with agriculture by participating in the 3rd Annual Farm Day at Cattleman Park.

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Students from Troy, Pike County, Goshen, Banks, Pike Liberal Arts and Covenant Christian elementary schools and home-schools students spent a day on the farm learning about row crops, tractor and chemical safety, germs, forestry, soil and the animals that are raised on the farm for profit and for pleasure.

Heath Wesley, Pike County Extension coordinator, said Farm Day has been successful in introducing young students to agriculture in Pike County.

“Agriculture plays a role in all of our lives,” he said. “We want these young students to realize the importance of agriculture and to have an appreciation for those who produce our food and fiber. And, I don’t know of a better way than to give them an opportunity to learn about agriculture from those who are involved. They get to touch a tractor and see how peanuts grow on the vine and touch a goat or a cow. It’s a great learning experience and a fun day on the farm.”

Steve Stroud, local farmer and president of the Pike County Farmers Federation, attended Farm Day and was impressed by the interest and enthusiasm of the third graders.

“This is an outstanding event for young children,” Stroud said. “It offers a brief tutorial on farming in Pike County and also teaches the students about farm safety and how it can be applied to everyday life.”
Stroud said many children are not aware of the role that farming plays in their daily lives.

“Farm Day is educational. The children learn about the different crops that are raised in Pike County and the animals that are raised for food.”

Stroud said hopefully Farm Day will be an incentive for some children to begin considering agriculture as a career choice.

“If the predictions are right, somewhere between 2025 and 2050 the world’s population will double and somebody’s going to have to feed all of those people,” he said. “It is important that young people are educated about the production of food and fiber. Farm Day is a great way to start learning.”

Jessica Morris, Pike County Young Farmers chair, said Farm Day for third-graders is made possible each year through the support of local groups.

“We want to thank all of those who were presenters for the 10 different farm-related topics that were presented at Farm Day,” Morris said. “After today, these children will know about what they are seeing when they ride down the road. They will recognize peanuts and cotton and know the role animals play on the farm and about forestry and how fires are fought. They will know more about underground animal life. They will have so much more awareness and, hopefully, appreciation of agriculture and farm life.”

Morris express appreciation to the presenters from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Pike County Young Farmers, Pike Agriscience Academy, Pike Soil & Water Conservation District, Keystone Foods and Alabama Forestry Commission.

Sponsors for the event were Pike County Young Farmers, Pike County Soil and Water District, Pike County Cattlemen Association, Pike County Farmers Federation, Pike County Farm City Committee, Pike County/Goshen Ag Academy/FFA, Linton  Tractor, Keystone Foods and the Alabama Forestry Commission.