The fourth-grade classes of two Elmore County schools spent a day on the farm, learning all about the wide world of agriculture, and the plethora of careers it offers at the 2017 Elmore County Extensions Office Farm Day.
Not only were they learning about the process of farm to table and raw goods to commodities, they learned about the vast world of natural resources in Elmore County and the creatures that inhabit it.
Hundreds of students from Holtville Elementary and Airport Intermediate schools crowded onto the Extension Office property and into its covered livestock show area.
There were dozens of displays with information on the food cycle and cultivating crops, processing cotton into yarn for clothing fabrics, weaving.
And then there was what seemed to be every fourth-grader’s favorite – the animals.
Cows, chickens, horses – the barn yard story staples, might have been there to show where the beef, poultry and dairy products came from but standing before the students, they were potential pets to pet and hand feed.
“You’ve got rabbits, you’ve got row crops, bees, a miniature therapy horse, big horse, a couple of different types of goats, some foul, chickens,” said Kristina Mitchell naming off what was on display that day, adding Auburn Fisheries was on site as well.
But the Extension director said their event was designed to be much more than the petting-zoo style, farm field trip that might come to the minds of parents when they heard its title, Farm Day.
And Extension has the support of a list of local charitable organizations as backers who share in the thought that the event’s purpose is an important one.
“We’re the extension of Auburn University and Alabama A&M with research based information and education,” said Mitchell. “We originally started with agricultural, of course now we cover every area of life.”
She said the 4H was their best-known program.
About Farm Day, Mitchell continued, “It’s to teach them about agriculture the importance of it, how it is important for our every day life. It’s informative also about different career options and agriculture.”
She said they would leave with pamphlets and magazines on the topic.
This was the first year Airport Road Intermediate and Holtville Elementary schools had attended the event.
She said every year they rotate schools in the county that attend.
Such a large event required a number of volunteers and Mitchell said they were crucial to the event.
She said the Alabama Power Service Organization provides the volunteers by lunch and drinks.
“They volunteer to take care of our volunteers,” Mitchell said.
Mid South RC&D gave the organization a grant, she said, and its Elmore County board member, Patty Lambrecht, was at the event delivering a presentation on crops.
She also explained the object of the organization, the local chapter of the larger National Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils.
“Our mission is to help our local communities in the areas of natural resources, human development (youth and senior education) economic development if we can,” said Lambrecht. “We love our first responders and our volunteer fire departments because, we’re helping our communities. We’re bringing the monies that we have and putting them back into our local communities.”