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Young people tell ag's story to middle schoolersYoung people tell ag's story to middle schoolers

This group of FFA members got the jump on National Ag Week and educated 7th graders about agriculture.

Tom Bechman 1

March 8, 2016

2 Min Read

Ag Week celebrations are the hallmark of March. Many groups attempt to tell ag’s story to both young and old alike with educational programs, tours, farmer’s share breakfasts, mall displays and much more.

Members of the Franklin FFA Chapter got an early jump when they presented programs about agriculture to the entire 7th grade student body in the school corporation, a few classes at a time. In all they talked to more than 400 students.

This was no petting zoo. Here are five things the younger students were exposed to by FFA members who prepared their own material.

1. Whether you choose grass fed or grain-fed beef is up to you


Doug Abney and his family raise both on their farm in Johnson County. His sister’s meat business has blossomed into a family enterprise. Doug brought his George Foreman cooker and prepared hamburgers of both types, then let students form a taste test panel and decide for themselves. Along the way he talked about fat content and the difference in cost of production. His panel favored grain fed beef, but it wasn’t unanimous.

2. Honey bees are a form of livestock and should be treated as such

Robbie Armstrong, Southport High School, participated as well, talking about how to care for honeybees. He raises his own bees, and he told the students that bees are a form of livestock. They produce honey instead of meat or milk.

3. Coyotes are growing braver on the rural/suburban fringe and threaten small animals

Sam Wood traps coyotes. He showed students how to set a trap, and he also told them why he does it. Coyotes are a growing menace in many areas of Indiana where rural areas and suburbia meet. They are a threat to young calves, lambs and even small domestic cats and dogs.

4. Horticulture is an important part of agriculture

Two students, Sydney Ponsler and Kaci Ross, showed the student show to make cuttings of certain plants, in this case wandering Jews, and grow your own plants. They made the point that horticulture is a big business in Indiana.

5. You won’t get Avian Flu from eating chicken and poultry products

Some of the young students had heard of Avian Flu, some had not. FFA members Emily Florence and Natalie Russell not only showed them young chicks, but also explained the ins and outs of Avian flu. The Indiana outbreak has been declared over, but the scars still remain in southwest Indiana.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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