KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Third-graders crowded around Beatrice and Nebraska, reaching out to touch the two sheep owned by Avery Hirschbock, a Henley High School junior and FFA member.
Hirschbock, who has raised sheep for five years, watched as she shared fun animal facts — “Did you know sheep have four stomachs?” — with the elementary school youths participating in an agriculture field day last week at Henley High School. The annual event, hosted by Henley FFA and agriculture science classes, introduces youths to agriculture and farming.
“It’s fun teaching the kids,” Hirschbock said, “because some of them don’t know about animals, and watching their reactions is fun.”
Dominique Kirkpatrick, ag science teacher and co-adviser of the school’s FFA chapter, said the field day also helps FFA members learn to communicate to others the importance of agriculture, especially to youths.
“The hope is that by coming to these field days, (the younger students) will have some knowledge about where their food comes from,” she said. “It doesn’t just come from a grocery store.”
Elementary school classes each had 30 minutes to visit the five stations: garden in a glove, dirt pudding, tater sack commodities, grass, and a petting zoo.
Garden in glove provided students with seeds — peas, beans, carrots, cat grass, and lettuce — wrapped in wet cotton balls and placed in a finger of each glove. Once the seeds sprout in about two weeks, the students are encouraged to plant them and watch them grow.
They learn about soil during the dirt pudding station — and also walk away with a chocolate, graham cracker and gummy worm snack. At the petting zoo, they were able to touch the two sheep as well as Winston, one of the FFA’s chickens. The students were able to say hello to a horse from a short distance away.
Henley High School FFA has a barn, two chicken coops and a hay barn. Students farm 15 acres of alfalfa each year, and rear sheep, pigs, steers, horses and chickens. Livestock on the property at any time depends on FFA student projects, Kirkpatrick said. The barn also is used by FFA students who are rearing animals for the county fair but do not have a place at home to keep them.
The club collects eggs from its 70 hens, clean them and put them in cartons for use in the school kitchens. Any leftover eggs are kept in a refrigerator and sold to staff or others for $3 a carton.
Next year, FFA hopes to plant two unused acres with pumpkins and sweet corn.