Down on the farm
About 80 children gathered at Burgess Farms on Monday for a morning of agricultural education.
The Vance County Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development program held its Down on the Farm event exposing youths ages 5 to 18 years old to farm animals, wildlife, crops and the earth.
Participants were part of the Area Christians Together in Service, Boys and Girls Club or 4-H. Broken into groups, children rotated through stations around the farm and heard lectures from key agricultural groups in the region.
Miciah Solomon, a third-grader from Dabney Elementary School, fired off questions during Virginia Cooperative Extension agent Brittany Council’s presentation.
“I wanted to know the difference between a pig and a hog and why the Boston butt was at the front of the pig,” she said.
Most children said they enjoyed seeing llamas from Bella Casa Farms of Kittrell and coyotes and wallabies from Frank Newell Farms of Warrenton.
Miciah said she liked Youngsville farmer Alesia Moore’s showcase of black sheep and wool demonstration the best.
Clarke Elementary School fifth-grader Keyon Turnstall said he learned the most about water and crops.
“I learned about fish and about water and how it’s affected when you get it dirty,” he said.
Conservationist Diana Lewis of the National Resources and Conservation Services said her presentation taught children the scarcity of water.
“I told them that only 2 percent of earth’s water supply is fresh,” she said. “It’s a matter of survival. It’s our drinking water, and we have to protect it.”
Turner Pride, 4-H youth development cooperative extension agent, said the event was designed to give the participants life lessons about the environment.
“We just want to give them some education,” he said. “They get to learn about different local animals, about crops and about conservation.”
Burgess Farm’s owner, Pete Burgess, said he opens his farm to events like this all the time.
“They know we are here, and we don’t mind doing it for the kids,” he said. “Anything connected with education and agriculture, we like to promote it.”
The next farm visit is scheduled for July 3. Youth will visit Saddle Rock Farm on Weldon’s Mill Road, Henderson, for hayrides and a petting zoo. The cost is $11, and slots are open for 20 children ages five to 13.
For more information, contact Vance County Cooperative Extension at (252) 438-8188.
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