Fourth graders from throughout Marion County learned about agriculture on March 1 at the Marion County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom event held at the Vermeer Global Pavilion in Pella. Classes from Knoxville, Twin Cedars, Melcher-Dallas, Pella, Pella Christian, and home-schooled students rotated among nine learning stations to gain insight into various aspects of agriculture.
Dr. Tim Yoder shared animal health information. Dr. Yoder said, “I always enjoy seeing the students’ interest in how farmers and veterinarians work together to ensure the best possible health for all farm animals, including family pets.” Several teachers commented that the presenters reinforced classroom learning, and many said they learned during the day as well.
Many students learned a new word: biodegradable—an advantage corn-made products have over plastic when making items such as packaging and golf tees. Traditional favorites for the students included sitting in a combine and on a tractor, seeing several pieces of equipment Vermeer manufactures, and observing lambs, chickens, and a bottle-fed calf. Other presenters discussed farm safety, soybean uses, soil conservation, and ways the Extension Service benefits everyone in Marion County. Another favorite was Farm Animal Jeopardy game. Information given to each student included commodity bookmarks and flyers, pencils, a small IH tractor, and garden seeds.
Marion County Farm Bureau director Larry Rowley coordinated the event. He said he was very pleased with the turnout—nearly 450 students from 18 classes. The event relies heavily on volunteers, including Farm Bureau board members, spouses, and the Twin Cedars FFA. Sponsors are key to a successful event. Special thanks to Barker Implement and Titan Machinery for providing the large equipment and to area farmers who brought livestock and display materials. Funding from Vermeer Charitable Foundation, Two Rivers Coop, Van Maanen Seed and Chemical, Smith Fertilizer and Grain, Marion County Cattlemen, and Renze Seeds helped with transportation and other costs associated with the event.
Board member and membership campaign chair Stephanie Bailey indicated that Ag in the Classroom and Ag in the City events in Knoxville and Pella each year are among major events sponsored by Marion County Farm Bureau. She said, “Sharing ag-related information is becoming more important than ever as fewer students have first-hand knowledge of farming practices. Growing our membership is key to our ability to promote agriculture in ways such as this. We invite everyone to a new event this year: Farm Bureau Day at the Marion County Fair!” To learn about the benefits of being a Farm Bureau member, contact the office in Pella, 628-3219, or Knoxville, 842.6214.