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Whitley County Students Learn About Agriculture

Published: Friday, March 15, 2019

Around 400 Whitley County first-graders attended the annual Ag Day at the 4-H Center in Columbia City on March 7, which was hosted by the Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation District, Whitley County Farm Bureau Inc. and the Whitley County Extension. This event wouldn't be possible without assistance from the Columbia City FFA chapter.

The first-graders saw a wide variety of farm animals and learned about the products we use in our daily lives. There were nine different stops that were set up under the 4-H Center's roof. Participating schools included Mary Raber, Northern Heights, Coesse, Little Tuttle and Churubusco.

"This is something that we really enjoy doing for the first-graders," said Nadean Lamle, office manager for the Whitley SWCD. "Many of these children have never had the opportunity to be close to a farm animal. We try to remind the students, chaperons and teachers that if it wasn't for the farmer, their parents wouldn't be able to buy many of the products that we take for granted in our everyday lives. Some farmer, somewhere, had to raise the foods that we eat everyday of our lives."

The Columbia City FFA chapter supplied speakers and animals for all nine of the stops. Plus, the FFA chapter supplied the tour guides to help the teachers with the students and to guide them from stop to stop.

Courtney Johnson brought a young feeder pig to share with the first-graders. Grace Schrader explained how many pigs could be in a litter of baby pigs and that sometimes if the litter is too large for a sow or mother pig to handle that the baby pigs could be transferred to another sow to feed. She also explained the notches that are cut into the baby pigs' ears is for identification. Grace explained that when the pigs are finished out, or grown, they will be used for food products such as ham, bacon, sausage and pork chops.

Maycee Nix talked about the chickens that she had brought to the event. She explained that some of the chickens were bred to be layers, and some are even raised just to be show chickens and would be judged on their appearance.

Lindsey Hoskins brought two different varieties of rabbits with her for Ag Day. Lindsey Hoskins explained that some rabbits are raised for meat and some are show animals. Rabbits also make excellent pets.

Hayley Puckett brought a ewe and a lamb. Dillion Sheiss explained that we use the wool from sheep for clothing, blankets, slippers and other items. We also eat the meat from sheep. Dillion also explained why the tails are docked, or removed, because of health issues. And he also explained the tags that are in the each of the ewe's ears are for identification and record keeping.

Abbi Schrader brought a nanny goat with her kid. Abbi explained that there are several different kinds of goats, such as milk goats or meat goats. The one that was here was a milk goat. Raising goats is becoming a popular thing since there is a large demand for goat milk for drinking and for cheese. And more people are eating goat meat than ever before because it is very lean.

Melanie Schroeder brought a feeder calf, which was a black and white Holstein. The calf might be a 4-H project this summer at the fair. Maddie Schroeder talked about when the calf is fully grown it will become the hamburger or steak on our dinner tables. Maddie also explained how to care for your calf.

Shari Shively brought her horse "Strawberry" to show the first-graders. Wyatt Kauffman showed the students the brushes that are used to groom the horse and the halters that are used to lead them. Wyatt talked about the saddle that is used to ride a horse. The first-graders really enjoyed looking at and petting "Strawberry."

Pam Ousley and Janelle Burnworth represented Indiana Farm Bureau Inc.—Advocating for Agriculture. They explained how many farmers it takes to make a pizza. Someone must raise the wheat to make the dough, tomatoes to make the sauce, cows to make the cheese, corn and hay to feed the cow, onions and peppers that go on the pizza. Plus, all of the jobs farming provides for workers such building the tractors, combines, planters, mowers, tires for all the equipment, and carpenters to build the barns, grain storage and feeders.

More's Farm Store furnished two tractors for the event. Nathaniel Ness and Matt Hoskins handled the tractor stop. They explained how tractors are used to perform various jobs. They pointed out some of the safety rules for tractors. This is one of the first-graders' favorite stops.

Hayley Puckett, Joseph Moerhing, Faith Lang, Courtney Johnson, Melanie Rumsyre, Evan Pettigrew, Brock Roy, Morgan, Barron and Kassidy Porter were guides to assist the teachers and first-graders from stop to stop during the day.

At the end of the day, each first-grader was given a coloring book to take back to their school. The coloring book explains many of the things about farms and some of the animals raised on the farm.

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