FARM DAY: Local third graders get hands-on at farm

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday might have been a ho-hum day for some Pike County students but not for 350 third-graders throughout the county.

On Tuesday, those young students participated in Pike County Farm Day at Cattlemen Park. Students from Banks, Pike County, Goshen and Troy elementary schools, Pike Liberal Arts and Covenant Christian, spent the morning learning about life on the farm.

Cody Eiland, Goshen Agriculture Academy instructor and FFA advisor, said the purpose of Pike County Farm Day is for the young students to experience what agriculture is all about.

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“Many of these students many not know where their food comes from or the clothes they wear,” Eiland  said. “Farm Day is probably the first time some of these students get a close up look at the crops we grow in Pike County or the animals that are raised here.”

Eiland said looking at a peanut field from a car window is not the same as pulling a peanut from the vine.

“Touching a cow’s head is a different experience than seeing a cow in the pasture,” he said. “Pike County Farm Day is real-life experience. Our hope is these students will leave  today with a greater appreciation for agriculture.”

Goshen FFA students took the opportunity of Pike County Farm Day to share farm animals in their care with the students and also their knowledge about those animals. The third-grade students were introduced to two big farm animals, a cow and a horse. They petted the rabbit, goats, cow and baby chickens but shied away from the gobbling turkeys.

They visited the  Soil Tunnel Trailer and ventured underground where turtles, snakes, moles and such make their homes. The students learned about forest fires and that it takes three things to start a forest fire – fuel, oxygen and heat. Smokey the Bear reminded the students to not play with matches and not to venture close to a fire.

William Birdsong explained to the students that peanuts are the source of the peanut butter in their PB&J sandwiches and that cotton bolls are filled with fiber used to make their shirts and blue jeans.

The third-graders enjoyed the chemical look-a-like game. They guessed which bottle contained a harmless liquid and which was a harmful chemical. The students learned that it’s difficult to tell  one from the other. That’s why it’s so important to label bottles and containers.

Ben Greer told the kids about farm safety. He said nearly 12,000 kids die each year from farm-related accidents.

Greer quizzed the young students on the greatest dangers facing farm kids. The third-graders guessed everything from bad bulls to snakes and wolves and falling in ponds. But no one guessed the tractor.

“The tractor is related to most of the farm accidents that involve kids,” Greer said. “The reason for most of those accidents is not wearing a seatbelt. Many of those accidents could have been prevented if a seatbelt had been worn.”

The Pike County Farm Day stations were Kubota, tractor safety; Goshen FFA, cattle, horses, goats, chickens, rabbits; National Resources Conservation Service, soil trailer; Forestry Commission, Smokey the Bear; Brandy Mount/Wayne Farms, baby chicks; Williams Birdsong, cotton and peanuts; and Lucy Edwards, chemical look-a-likes.

The sponsors of Farm Day include Alabama Extension, Young Farmers of Alabama, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, ALFA, Kubota and Alabama Farm-City Committee.