5th grade Countywide Farm Tour

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Story and Photos by Rhonda Fassler

Countywide Farm Tour held - The Cherokee Chamber Agri-Business Committee recently hosted their annual fifth grade farm education day and farm tour. On Monday, presenters visited each of the four county schools, which included Aurelia, Cherokee, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn and River Valley, to talk about beef, pork, dairy, soybeans and corn. Each group of presenters spoke for approximately 15 minutes and had five minutes of question and answer time. The presenters were divided into two groups and each group visited two county schools. They discussed a variety of things that the students would see the following day on the tour. Presenters included: Dr. Rachel Johnson, Beef; Butch Sleezer, Pork; Jason Ducommun, Beef; Tom Oswald, Corn and Soybeans; Vernon Winterhof, Dairy; Brian Freed, Soybeans; Mrs. Gary Small, Corn; Ennet Wolf, Pork; and Larry Johnson, Dairy. The following day, countywide the students loaded up on school buses and headed out. Their day consisted of a tour of Dave and Janet Sullivan's hog farm. Mark and Sarah Wilcox's or Fordyce's Family Dairy, Little Sioux Corn Processors and Sand Seeds. All students had a lunch of hotdogs donated by Tyson Foods, corn chips, cookies and milk which was donated by Robert's Dairy. This fifth grade farm tour has been held for over 35 years and is a great way for the students to learn about the process that occurs to bring food to their table and fuel to the family car. Also each year Paul Wilkens, safety director of Sand Seeds, teaches the students about farm safety and demonstrates how quickly, in the time it takes to snap your fingers, an accident can occur on the farm. Educating the students that live on the farm and those who might visit the farm, how careful you need to be and how alert you need to stay everyday. The committee is grateful for the support of the volunteers that have dedicated their time and donated supplies including disposable boots donated by Valley Vet Center for many year to support this project of educating our youth in Cherokee county.