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Teaching kids, one farm visit at a time

Two Hearts, One Harvest: Ag education is important, and bringing schoolchildren to the farm reinforces it.

Mike and Sheilah Reskovac, Bloggers

May 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Pictured from left: Brody Yezioro, Cole and Caleb Reskovac, and Mildred Klein
HAPPY VISITORS: Cole and Caleb Reskovac, sons of Mike and Sheilah Reskovac, were thrilled to host their friends last September for a visit to the farm. Pictured are (from left) Brody Yezioro, Cole and Caleb Reskovac, and Mildred Klein, first grade teacher. Courtesy of Mike and Sheilah Reskovac

This year, we once again had the opportunity to participate in Ag Literacy Week.

This is an event that is put on by our local Farm Bureau and Penn State Extension Office, and it has grown to include more than 1,600 kids — kindergarten to second grade — in our county. The kids were read a story called “Anywhere Farm” and were given some activities and sent home with a pepper or tomato plant.

The elementary school our boys attend also participated in this event. This year, Mike read to both Cole and Caleb’s classes, and the boys got to help answer questions about our farm. They loved it, and the other kids seemed to as well. For kindergarten and first graders, they asked some decent questions.

While this event is great and serves its purpose to introduce ag to children, we feel that one week out of the year is not necessarily enough to fully educate kids on agriculture.

Luckily for us, and especially our boys, we have found that a lot of the teachers at our elementary school feel that this is an important topic, too, and also want to learn. Not only are they supportive of us any time we ask them to participate in an ag-related activity, but they have also reached out to us. Cole’s teacher even asked for extra farm pictures for the class to look at during ag week, and she has come out to the farm more than once.

In September, we invited the school to come to one of our sunflower evenings. We had a great turnout, and everyone who came said they had a wonderful time. The support from the teaching staff was amazing.

Shortly after, the kindergarten teachers reached out asking if we would be willing to have a field trip for the kindergarten classes, Caleb, of course, was extremely excited. We did, and seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces as some of them went on their first hayride was totally worth it. Again, they asked a lot of questions and genuinely wanted to learn.

In December we were asked by the school to bring one of our calves to their Christmas event. While this may seem silly, it was a great way to educate not only the kids in attendance, but also their parents, especially those who thought we had a goat.

The first half of the year, the boys had computer class. The second half, they have STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). When they brought home their introductory papers from the teacher, Mike was surprised to see that not only did he know the teacher, but that ag education was listed as one of the topics that would be taught.

He immediately reached out to the teacher, stating that he was thrilled ag education was listed and that he was willing to be of assistance on any topics if needed. The teacher was enthusiastic about this and has picked Mike’s brain on different topics and ideas. He said, “I feel it’s important for the kids to know where their food comes from.” How amazing is that!

We are blessed the boys go to school in an environment where they are supported and encouraged to do the things they love. We have not encountered any “dumb farmer” or “poor farmer” stigma that so often accompanies farmers and farm kids from those who have no understanding of how much education, money, dedication and hard work it truly takes to be a farmer.

It is our hope that this trend continues as the boys get older, and move up through middle school and high school. We also pray that there are thousands of other teachers throughout the country who feel that ag education is important to their students.

We will continue to do our part to help educate, promote and provide resources where needed!

The Reskovacs and their sons farm near Uniontown, Pa. Check out all of their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" blogs

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About the Author(s)

Mike and Sheilah Reskovac


Mike and Sheilah Reskovac are a young farming couple just starting their second year of marriage and farming together, near Uniontown, Pa. He's a first-gen farmer who met his fourth-gen farmer-bride online, and married in November 2012.

Mike grew up next to and working on his neighbor's Fayette County dairy farm through high school and college. After graduating from Penn State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Ag Systems Management, he worked as a manager at Tractor Supply stores for three years.

In 2005, he began farming his neighbor's land. Today, he and Sheilah farm 900 acres of corn and soybeans, plus do custom planting and harvesting.

Mike is president of the Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association. He also serves on the local Penn State Extension Board and is a Farm Service Agency county committee member.

Sheilah grew up on her family's Indiana County dairy farm. She graduated from DuBois Business College in 2008 with an associate's degree in Specialized Business and Medical Assistance, then worked for DuBois Regional Medical Center for four years. She also volunteered as a firefighter and EMT for the local fire company.

Since moving to Fayette County, Sheilah has been chief bookkeeper and farm assistant, along with taking classes at Penn State Fayette for Nursing. She enjoys “taking care of” groundhog problems, raking hay and mowing cornstalks.

While she enjoys cooking and baking, Mike enjoys eating the goods. Both enjoy hunting, attending concerts and county fairs, and spending time with family.

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