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.