Archive for Saturday, April 23, 2005

Students served slice of farming

April 23, 2005

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Fourth-graders in Douglas County receive a glimpse of farm life at the annual "Slice of Agriculture."

In January, nearly 900 students from Lawrence, Eudora and Baldwin visited the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St., for the annual event to learn about farming.

The guides rattled off facts about two pigs in a pen behind them and told the children that the gigantic John Deere tractor they were looking at cost $112,000.

But the schoolchildren still had questions for their guides to agriculture. Were the pigs married? No. Could a tornado pick up the 10,000 pound tractor? Yes. And could the tractor go through a car wash? No.

"They take you by surprise, that's for sure," said Kevin Lierz, a volunteer at "Slice of Agriculture."

In its fifth year, the event was organized by groups including the Douglas County Farm Bureau and the Douglas County office of Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Most Lawrence families no longer have farm ties, said Brenna Wulfkuhle, a western Douglas County farmer who helped organize the event.

"They need to know where their food comes from," she said of the children. "They're future consumers, and we want them to be educated."

The students rotated among eight stations, learning about pigs, food safety, farm machinery and cattle.

At one station, Lawrence High School senior Michelle Colgan and another volunteer explained Colgan's cow, Tinkerbell.

With the cow behind them, the pair explained there are 2 1/2 cows per person in Kansas, that one cow hide is enough for 140 leather baseballs and one steak has more protein than four cans of corn.

"About how fast can Tinkerbell run?" one child asked.

"Faster than me," said Colgan, who is involved in 4-H and the National FFA Organization.

At the farm machinery station, children admired the 10,000 pound green tractor.

"When a farmer goes to work, this is his office," Lierz, a Deems Farm Equipment salesman, said of the tractor's cab.

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