Fourth graders get in touch with agriculture

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - Jim Mosher of Mosher Angus Farm let area fourth graders get up close and personal with sheep as part of ThursdayÕs Marshall County Farm Bureau Farm to Table Day. Students also learned about crops, soil and farm equipment.

Despite living in an agricultural state, many children not involved in farming families know little about the livestock, crops and farm tools.

That’s the reason Jean Klosterman of the Marshall County Farm Bureau said the 18th Annual Farm to Table Day at the Central Iowa Fairgrounds is so important. About 450 Marshalltown fourth-graders saw various ag exhibits Thursday.

“Generally speaking … we are five, nearly six generations removed from the farm, so the sad fact is that people do not understand that the source of their food is right here, Iowa is a huge agricultural state,” Klosterman said. “They need to understand that their food doesn’t come from a grocery store or a popular fast food restaurant … it really comes from the people that they’re going to hear from and talk to out here.”

The exhibits covered a wide range of agricultural topics. There were livestock exhibits featuring goats, sheep and swine, discussions about soils and plants, examples of modern and historic farm tools and a farm safety seminar.

“They take this information home and they share it with their families, so this information keeps going out and out and out,” Klosterman said of the students. “We’ve done this for 18 years, so this is a pretty awesome program.”

The students seemed to agree.

“It’s fun because you can see the sheep and you got to touch them and learn how they take care of them,” said Fisher student Levi Bell. He said much of the information was familiar since his grandfather farms.

St. Francis Catholic School student Ellie Hobson didn’t have as much experience with agricultural topics.

“We talked about how they harvest corn,” she said of one exhibit. Hobson said she also learned that leather is made with cow hide.

Many of the students, including Hobson, smiled and laughed when they were shown sheep and swine at some of the seminars.

For more information on the products produced on Iowa’s farms, visit https://www.iowaagriculture.gov/iowaproducts.asp

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com