What better way to learn about agriculture than to see it up close?
Second-graders in schools in Washington and Sullivan counties got a sneak peak into the farm life as they toured the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray Tuesday for a farm day put on by Farm Bureau Insurance in Washington County and the Washington County Agricultural Extension Service in Jonesborough.
Kids traveled from the Farm and Home Building, as well as the two livestock buildings, learning about things such as horticulture, crops, 4-H, forestry, dairy cattle, goats, chickens, beef cattle and farm and tractor safety.
David Saylor, president of the Farm Bureau in Washington County, said the two-day event helps introduce kids to the farming industry.
“We just have different projects of the farmers — cattle, sheep, dairy, crops,” he said. “We also have milk furnished by the dairymen for each kid. We give them of those half pints of milk each time one goes through.”
Edward Bowman, a local sheep farmer at the event, said he feels it’s important to teach kids about the different animals and their different uses in every day life.
“We are working with the Farm Bureau to try to show some schoolchildren about farm life, some of the animals that we raise, some of the different products that are raised on a farm, different things that go into the agricultural economy,” Bowman said. “We’re just trying to show them a little bit about the products that come from sheep. Sheep are probably less known to the children than cattle and horses and that kind of thing, because there are not that many grown around in this area.”
He said sheep have a lot of valuable uses, such as wool, meat, cheese and many other by-products.
The students also were introduced and educated on a variety of topics, including honeybees and soil conservation.
Connie Sharp, 4-H and county director of the Washington County Agricultural Extension Service, had an exhibit using a black light and a special lotion to show kids the germs on their hands and emphasized the importance of washing their hands.
Grandview Elementary School teacher Belinda Mitchell, said coming to the farm day has always been an exciting trip for her students.
“The kids love it. The boys and girls always look forward to this and when we go back (to school) we do some writing and some drawing also to follow up, so it’s a very good experience,” she said.
Saylor said the experience also is helpful for teachers.
“The teachers have a learning package that they can teach different things to the kids and show them different parts of how agriculture is actually working,” he said.
The 700-800 kids who participated in the farm day received a goodie bag with two or three books on animals and different parts of farming, a coloring book, a book mark and two pencils.
Fourth-graders from schools in Washington and Sullivan counties will visit the fairgrounds today for the last day of the event.