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Fourth Graders Find a Future in Farming

by Patrick Trent -- Eagle Staff Writer

Fourth grade students listen intently to FFA student presenters. (From left to right: Tucker Hall - freshman, Cameron Deal - freshman, and Nicole Austin - sophomore (Photo courtesy of Emma Duncan)

On April 6, Future Farmers of America and FCCLA hosted “Food for America,” an event that brought all of the 4th grade students in the county to Franklin County High School to learn about all the ways agriculture affects local lives and ways they can become involved.

Food for America involves games and stations where high school students explain a variety of different agricultural topics, including farm animals, equipment, and many more. Agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor Jean Capps explained, "Food for America teaches elementary kids about agriculture...We like to show off all aspects of agriculture, including wildlife and tractor safety."

“Food for America is important because it gives people an opportunity to learn about farming and prepare for a career in agriculture,” added freshman Kay Bradner.

Elementary teachers hoped the event gave students to have a better grasp of agriculture in the county. Chinah Jewell, Burnt Chimney 4th grade teacher, said, “We really wanted [4th grade students] to learn about the different programs that the high school has but also the agriculture in the county and the different careers that they can start working towards.”

Some stations gave elementary students the chance to interact with agricultural animals, many of whom they would not otherwise encounter outside this event. Jewell explained, “One of the things we were really hoping for them to learn is that the animals in the county are not just dogs and cats. It’s not just what you see everyday, even just today we’ve been able to see the ducks and learn things about the goats and one of the things we want them to learn today is just respect for all the animals.”

One station was a game called “Feed the Pigs”. Zay Trotter, a senior with the Teens for Tots class, explained, “We made a 'Feed the Pigs' game. They have two tries to throw food into one of the pig’s mouths. It’s been very fun to do.”

Other students served as guides for the elementary visitors. Bradner explained, “I’m a guide and I wanted to do this because the horse station was full but I still wanted to be involved and this way I get to see all the other stations. My job is to keep all of my fourth graders in control by keeping them to each group they’re assigned to.”

Kay Bradner, freshman, directing students to their next activity (Photo courtesy of Emma Duncan)

The 4th graders were as enthusiastic to be there as the students who were hosting the event. Ellison Wilkins, Glade Hill fourth grader, exclaimed, “I love the animals! I want to learn about all of them. I want to go there [pointing to the goat station], too."

Dawson Farrington, 4th grader at Glade Hill Elementary, enthused, “I learned about welding and the pigs and how they eat a lot and they eat what we don’t eat. A question I asked about the horses was does it hurt when the [bridle bit] goes in their mouth and they said no. I really like it!” The event clearly made an impact: “I really want to be in FFA! I want to show off the animals. This place is so nice.”

Sometimes what students took away from a station was surprising. “I’ve learned that there’s a part of the pig called the shoulder butt. It’s weird,” Wilkins explained.

This year’s Food for America combined learning and fun in an enjoyable event for all. “I wanted to come here because I know you can learn about different types of animals and what Future Farmers of America do,” Farrington stated. “Some things I just learned here I didn’t know before.”

Presenters would agree, that’s what Food for America is all about.

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