Groton FFA Chapter
Editor’s note: On April 11, the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee hosted its annual Ag Fair at Prairie Hill Farms north of Aberdeen. Area 4th grade students visit the farm and learn about various aspects of agriculture through presentations by FFA members. This year, Groton and Roncalli FFA students participated. Groton FFA students at each station were asked why it is important to be an advocate for agriculture, what they were teaching the students at their station, what they liked about teaching the elementary students, and how teaching the students could help the presenters in their future careers. The responses by the student presenters at each station are listed below.
Paityn Bonn, Corbie McKay, Alex Stange
At the dairy station, we teach students the importance and relevance of dairy foods and discuss how they are made. If possible, we also bring in a dairy calf and some milking goats. The students are able to actually milk the goats.
It is important to be an advocate for agriculture to enlighten the younger generation. When the younger generation is enlightened, it helps to secure the future of agriculture and advance it when a new generation takes over. Agriculture is the source of many jobs, and the world as we know it would be much different without agriculture. Many advances in medicine, technology, and everyday tasks are because of agriculture. Agriculture helps regulate the economy and feeds the world. Agriculture is a major part in international trade. Agriculture is the main support for railways and roadways, which transport the bulk of agricultural produce from farms to the factories. Agriculture is a major part of our society and needs to be preserved by teaching the next generation.
What we like about teaching elementary students agriculture is securing a spot for growth within the agriculture industry. When the elementary school child listens to someone with a passion for agriculture, the possibility of inspiration is planted. When a child is inspired, they begin to plan their future and that future is agriculture.
Elementary students can teach us while we teach them. We learn a lot of patience when explaining things to them. It is also very rewarding to watch a child learn something for the first time.
Emma Watje, Miranda Hanson, Caitlynn Barse
We feel it is important to be an advocate for agriculture as a way to share information. Agriculture is important, and we feel that everyone should have the opportunity to know and understand its importance. Agriculture keeps our society and world going today. If we did not have some of the advancements in agriculture that we’ve had, we would not be where we are today. Just think about the large amounts of food we can grow compared to years past. Teaching people and giving them more knowledge in regards to how agriculture works is important. When we all have a clear understanding about how something works and the benefits we gain from it, we can all work together to continue to make it stronger, better. We enjoy agriculture because there is so much to teach and learn. To us, agriculture is a way of life that we enjoy.
In the beef station, we will be teaching kids the importance of beef, how they are used, some common breeds of beef, and the byproducts.
We like teaching elementary students about agriculture because the kids are very interested. We like to share knowledge and information about agriculture to help educate. It’s fun to tell the students where stuff comes from and how things are used to help us benefit our lives. We love it when the students think something you tell them is the coolest thing that they have ever heard. This program gives us the opportunity to share with them something that they will most likely remember that for the rest of their lives.
Talking to elementary students is very beneficial. Actually, talking in front of any group can help us grow our speech skills and make us more comfortable presenting. Regardless of what we decide to do in our careers, having the confidence to stand in front of a group and share knowledge comfortably is important. The elementary kids provide a challenge in that we need to keep our message simple. We also need to remember that the younger kids may be more “sensitive” which means we need to be careful with our word choices. While most kids realize that hamburger comes from cattle, they probably don’t understand the life cycle of a cow. Our cattle are named, tame, halter-broke and have personalities, but we can’t let attachment get in the way of their true purpose. Kids have a lot of questions, and as older students, we are looked at as role models. Sharing our knowledge and answering their questions may provide the push they need to do the same someday.
Kate Helmer, Cyrus DeHoet, Jamesen Stange, Makayla Jones
At the crops station, we will be teaching about the main crops grown in South Dakota. The main crops include corn, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers, alfalfa and barley. On the board, we plan to show the stages of growing each crop like planting, spraying, and harvesting. Some facts to include would be the amount of each crop produced by South Dakota farmers and what the crops are used for which is mainly food for people and food for animals, which turn into food for us. Crops are the start of the food chain process. Crops also serve as fuel and byproducts.
The reason agriculture is important is because the world would starve to death without it. Without all the farmers and ranchers in the world, there would be no food in the grocery stores for people to buy. Many people who live in large cities have never experienced agriculture first hand and do not know where their food comes from past the store. It is our job as people who live in rural America to get past the media and show the world how important agriculture really is. In recent years, with social media growing so rapidly, many people get a bad vibe about the world of agriculture with certain videos getting out. We all know that bad things happen every day. People die, steal, and are mean to other people. The same goes for animals. Bad things are always going to happen, but it is our duty as advocates for ag to get past the downside of life and show how important and crucial ag is to all the humans of the earth.
The best things about teaching young student about ag is the intense interest and excitement they show when we come in and talk to them. It is so fun to teach kids who are interested in what we are saying. It is fun to teach young student and get them excited about agriculture and the future and how they can be involved in FFA and all the fun activities that go along with it.
Anytime we talk in front of anyone it is a boost in confidence and helps in speaking skills. Working with young children helps to improve patience and teaches you how to make learning fun for all ages. To be a good teacher you need to be able to teach all ages and get your point across for all to understand. Teaching young kids makes you learn to go back to the basics and share the general information for them to understand. In the future, working with kids will make you a good parent but it will also help you to learn how to be responsible and a good leader and influence.
Megan Malsam, Colton Hokana
There are many people that have misconceptions about agriculture and the agriculture industry. As an advocate, we tell the true story of this great industry. Agriculture is a big part of everyone’s lives whether they like it or not. People would not be where they are today if it was not for all the agricultural advances. Agriculture has provided the world with food along with many other types of products. Agriculture has been a big part of our lives and plays a big role in providing many different jobs centered around agriculture to our society. Life as we know it would be very different if we did not have agriculture in it. There would not be anyone to provide the resources that we need on a daily basis. There also would be less jobs in the world that are agriculturally based. Agriculture is a big part of our lives and is why we should do everything that we can to pass on the knowledge and support the agricultural world.
We are teaching all about horses. From the different breeds to different types of color that horses come in. We are also teaching about the many different types of markings that horses have that can be used in identifying and differentiating horses apart from each other.
We enjoy being able to have the opportunity to teach them something that they may have not already known. Teaching kids something new and having fun at the same time can be a rewarding experience to anyone who takes part in it. Elementary students are a joy to teach as they look up to us and want to know more.
Talking to elementary students can help people come out of their comfort zone. It can also be a time to practice speaking in public, which can help them in the future. Any career someone chooses will require people to have these skills to become successful.
Patrick Gengerke, Anthony Sippel, Braiden Craig, Turner Webb, Shane Simon, Trey Gengerke, Kale Pharis
It is important to be an advocate for agriculture because less and less people are involved in agriculture every year. It is important for people to know where their food is coming from. Farms are becoming larger and larger. Which means the smaller operations are dying off. Which means less and less farmers. It is our job to tell our story about agriculture and make people aware of what really happens on our farms.
We are teaching farm safety at our station. We teach about basic farm safety, like PTO safety, label safety, and operational safety. We bring in a small tractor with a power take off or a PTO on it. We give a demonstration of what happens when clothes are caught in a PTO. We also demonstrate a board that is an example farmyard. We ask the kids what they see wrong with the farmyard, and they have to tell us what is wrong. We also have six sets of mason jars with different liquids in them but each set is the same color. For example, we put blue Gatorade in one jar and Windex in another. Then we ask the kids which is which. Most find it hard to tell which is which. Teaching farm safety is very important. Many people are hurt and injured on farms every year.
We like to teach elementary students about agriculture because we think it is important to know. We were lucky enough to grow up on farms. Most kids were not as lucky and have no idea what goes on, so it is important to teach them.
Talking to elementary students will help our future careers because we have developed social skills and teaching skills that will help in the future.
Sheep, swine, and goats
Madilyn Wright, Trey Wright, Brenna Johnson, Tessa Erdmann
At our station, we will teach the students about pigs, goats, and sheep. There will also be a pig, goat, and sheep there for the kids to see. We will also be telling them facts about the animals, and answering any questions they might have.
There are usually only a few kids from each group that actually live on a farm, so it is fun to see their reactions to seeing all the animals. They are also interested in what you have to say. We love when you tell the kids something and their faces just light up. We like knowing that these kids look up to us. There is nothing quite like seeing the reactions of the kids when they realize how many things that they enjoy on a day-to-day basis is closely related to agriculture.
Talking in front of kids can help us gain confidence in going in front of people. We can learn responsibility in teaching kids facts about animals and or ag. They teach you how to be more patient and how to come up with ways for things to sound interesting. If you are not excited, they will not be excited.
From the foods you eat to the clothes you wear, everything in our lives revolves around agriculture. Some people, especially fourth graders, may not know how important agriculture is in their everyday lives. We think it is important to advocate agriculture to everyone to give them knowledge of ag. There are a lot of myths and rumors about farming and farmers, and a lot are not good. Therefore, it is good for us to inform people the real facts about farming and how it is good for everyone, and also about how farmers are doing everything they can to grow food and meat so we can have food in the stores and on our tables.