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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Local students learn about rural life at Farm Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bernadette Stricker shows students how farmers years ago used a cotton sack.
NEW HAMBURG - Tuesday's experience is one Chrissy Sauceda said she will write about in her diary.

The third grader from Oran R-3, along with her classmates and about 300 other Scott County peers, spent part of the day enjoying the 2005 Farm Day at the Father Stevens Parish Center in New Hamburg.

"So far we've learned about plants and butterflies and caterpillars, and that some of the butterflies can't survive without a certain plant," Chrissy said Tuesday afternoon.

And a potato has an eye so it can make more, Chrissy added about things she learned.

"But it can't see out of the eye," noted fellow classmate Angela Schrum.

For the past four years, Farm Day has offered an opportunity for children like Chrissy and Angela to spend the day familiarizing themselves with agricultural processes and products, which teaches them what farming entails.

Throughout the visit, students roamed 10 different stations in 10-minute intervals learning about pollination; how rice, potatoes, chicken and beef are raised and what products they make; and they even had a chance to hold baby chicks and witness a dairy cow being milked.

Students also learned about farm safety through a puppet show provided by Monsanto. A snack station featured things made from farm products such as beef, fruit production, potatoes, grains and dairy.

"I learned they put 10,000 chickens in a barn and the chickens lay about 8,000 eggs a day," said Matthew Proctor, a fourth grader at St. Denis.

Teachers also benefited by receiving door prizes and learning of periodicals available for check-out from the Missouri Farm Bureau. Prizes like trees, savings bonds and a free trip to Beggs Family Farm Strawberry Festival in May were awarded to schools.

The Scott County Women in Agriculture, the group that sponsors Farm Day, wants children to learn how agriculture affects their everyday lives -- from the clothes on their back, the baseball they play with or the food on their lunch tray.

"This is a really good farm experience for my kids, especially since we're living in Southeast Missouri," said Jaime Spane, third and fourth grade teacher at Kelso C-7 School in New Hamburg. "I don't think they always realize exactly how many products and different materials that do come from our area so it's good to make that connection."

For her students, it was the potato exhibit given by Anthony Ohmes of the Mississippi County University Extension that drew a lot of interest, Spane said.

"He talked about how the chips they eat may be from Scott County, and I don't think they ever realized that they could be eating something grown here," Spane said.

New to Farm Day this year was a presentation on helmet safety. Robert Cook of Monsanto said Kelly FFA Chapter members were on hand to teach the students about the safety of wearing bicycle, ATV and other helmets and the proper way to wear them.

Another addition this year was the exhibit on old farm life. Bernadette Stricker and Betty Raines of the Women in Agriculture presented students with different items from farms long ago.

For example, the women showed students berry and egg baskets, a handheld corn planter and a wooden mallet. They also explained how people would wear a cotton sack when they picked cotton and how to make butter with a churn. And when butchering hogs, they showed a knife that was used to cut out the backbone and pork chops.

"They were very interested and asked a lot of questions," said Raines about the students.

Raines, 71, was raised on a farm and noted how uncommon growing up on a farm has become.

"Being on a farm, you don't realize how little kids today don't know about the farm, and I think sometimes we take that for granted," Raines said.

JoAnn Nichols, treasurer of Scott County Women in Agriculture, said teachers told her the information from Tuesday's event could be useful with the state's standardized Missouri Assessment Program test, which has already been administered at most schools this spring.

"The antique farm items are things the students have to identify on the MAP test so this is a type of reinforcement learning for them," Nichols said.

Overall, the students were very interested in learning about the farm industry, Nichols observed.

"Ultimately, when they leave we'd like them to see that the food on the table is often produced locally and what it takes to produce that," Nichols said. "And we'd like them to know what farm life is like."