Whitley Ag Day teaches young people the importance of agriculture | News

COLUMBIA CITY — About 400 Whitley County freshmen attended the annual Agriculture Day at the 4-H center on Thursday, March 3, which is hosted by the county’s Soil and Water Conservation District of Whitley (SWCD), Whitley County Farm Bureau, Inc., and the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. This event would not have been possible without all the hard work and support of the Columbia City High School FFA Chapter.

First graders got to see a wide variety of farm animals and learned which products come from which animals we use in our daily lives. There were nine different stops that were set up under the roof of the 4-H Center for first graders from Mary Raber, Northern Heights, Coesse, Little Tuttle, South Whitley and Churubusco. The students had the chance to visit each stop, ask questions and pet the animals.

“It’s something we really like to do for first year students,” said Nadean Lamle, Whitley SWCD office manager. “Many of these children have never had the opportunity to be near a farm animal. We try to remind students, chaperones and teachers that without the farmer, their parents would not be able to purchase many of the products we take for granted in our daily lives. A farmer somewhere had to raise the food we eat every day.

The Columbia City FFA Chapter provided speakers for eight of the nine stops and all of the animals. In addition, the FFA chapter provided the tour guides to help the teachers with the students and guide them from stop to stop.

Jake Reiff brought in young feeder pigs to share with the first graders. Jake Reiff explained that the notches cut into the baby pig’s ears are used to identify the baby pig in relation to its litter. He explained that when the pigs are finished or raised, they will be used for food products such as ham, bacon, sausages and pork chops.

Jackie Jubinville spoke about the chickens the school brought to the event. Jackie explained that some of the chickens were raised to be layers so we would have eggs, and others were raised for their meat which we eat.

Makenzie Hoskins handled the bunny stop. She explained that rabbits make great pets. When content and relaxed, they can purr like a cat. Their average lifespan is 8 to 10 years. They are herbivores or herbivores. Rabbits can clean or groom themselves.

Ferrell Farms brought two lambs to share with the first graders. Hayley Puckett explained that we use sheep’s wool for clothing, blankets, slippers and other items. We also eat mutton.

Jackson Geiger brought two of his goats to Ag Day. Jackson explained that there are several types of goats, such as dairy goats or meat goats. It was goat meat. Goat farming is becoming a popular thing as there is a high demand for goat milk for drinking and for cheese. And more people are eating goat meat than ever before because it’s so lean.

Jon Reiff brought feeder heifers to share with the first graders. The heifer could be a 4-H project this summer at the fair. Jon spoke when the calf is grown or fed, it will become the hamburger or the steaks on our tables. He also explained how to take care of your calf.

Kennedy St George Saggars brought his horse “Kai” to show the first graders. Mayleigh Robertson explained how to groom the horse and the halters that are used to drive them. She explained what horses eat. Kennedy talked about the saddle used for riding. The first-graders enjoyed watching and petting “Kai” and she enjoyed the attention the children gave her.

Pam Ousley represented Indiana Farm Bureau Inc – Advocacy for Agriculture. They explained how many farmers it takes to make a pizza. Someone has to raise the wheat to make the dough, the tomatoes to make the sauce, the cows to make the cheese, the corn and the hay to feed the cow, the onions and the peppers that go on the pizza. Also, all the jobs that agriculture provides to the workers such as 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 provided two tractors for the event. Sam Mullett and Andrew Hill took care of the tractor stop. They explained several different tasks that people use to perform tractors. They highlighted some of the things you need to do to be safe on and around tractors. Andrew Hill also brought a four-wheeler to Ag Day and discussed the importance of wearing a helmet when riding one. This is a favorite stop for first graders, they love the opportunity to sit on a tractor.

Hope Lang, Sarah Landers, Bayley Smith, Lorin Miller, Hunter Wood, Lauren Rouch, Noah Haselby, Hannah Quinn and Emily Baldwin were guides to help teachers and first graders from stop to stop during the day .

At the end of the day, each first grade student received a coloring book to take back to their school. This year’s coloring book explains a lot about pigs and how they are raised and the products we get from pigs.

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