Farmers: say “yes” when local schools call

Local agricultural experiences can leave lasting impressions on youth.

After visiting a Breakfast on the Farm event in Ossineke, Mich., a four-year-old molded, twisted and rolled playdough to recreate the experience. Not only did he create a cow and a farmer, this child connected the cow (a black-and-white Holstein) to a bulk tank with pipeline and connected the tank directly to a huge milk truck with a large hose. All with plain, ordinary playdough. He obviously listened and learned from the educational station speakers and he got it right. He is now interested in learning more about farming and is looking forward to the next time when he can be a “farmer for a day”.

Spring is here, and teachers are planning field trips to give students great experiences during those last days of school. These trips are experiential learning opportunities that may create lasting impressions. In late-May and June, things can be crazy on the farm, at the orchard and in the greenhouse, but consider sharing your time, your knowledge and your daily life experiences to make a difference in lives of others. The next generation is eager to learn what you do and how you do it, so please consider saying “yes” when asked to host a field trip.

It may require additional work, more time and perhaps more resources to open your business up to 20-150 or more eager young minds; but consider the rewards. You may meet a future employee or business partner. Perhaps, a once-eager young child will help you plan your farm transition; be your agricultural financial lender or become the local agri-science teacher. One thing for certain is that this child will be a consumer and will purchase the food you produce and the plants you grow. Who knows, maybe this child will even join you and become a farmer. Please say yes to the request and be proud to share your story … it is one that few can tell and it is one that the next generation needs to hear.  

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