Students learn about farm life during Ag Days

BREMEN — Agriculture instructor and Bremen FFA Association advisor Chad Berger is sure that elementary-aged kids who come for ‘Ag Days’ at Bremen schools will have special memories after they meet farm animals up close.
“The kids learn a lot about production agriculture and the steps it takes to get a raw product from the field to their table,” Berger said.
“They also get to learn a lot about animals in general, animal husbandry, and animal health safety,” he continued as a group of youngsters gathered around a young calf brought in for this year’s special Ag Day that was held on Friday, March 19, at Bremen High School.
“It feels funny,” said Emery Porter, a first grader, who had a finger or two suckled by a week-old baby cow. “This is really fun! It’s licking on my fingers!”
Carlos Martinez, also a first grader, said one of his cousins has a cow and that he really liked the baby cows that they had for Ag Day.
Cows weren’t the only animals that the students got to see and pet. Pigs were popular as well.
A student who sat on the ground next to the two pigs told FFA high school student Sam Bickel that when “baby pigs are born, they are so cute. I think I saw baby pigs in a movie. That’s how I saw them.”
While students may think more about seeing and touching the animals up close, Berger thinks of how he hopes that they learn more about where their food comes from.
“So many people today have no respect for agriculture or understand the importance of how it impacts society,” he said. “It makes me very happy that we can do a little something for the students so they can learn about it.”
He said that one of the elementary teachers also incorporates a lesson about agriculture into his classroom curriculum as well as his students visit during Ag Days.
It takes more than just bringing in animals to have such an event every year at the school.
“The majority of high schools with ag programs will normally do an Ag Day in the early spring,” Berger said. “Usually ours is in February during National FFA Week. This year though we are doing it with the Young Authors Conference.”
He said that he has certain FFA members who bring in the animals.
“It varies from year to year, and it also depends on the availability at the time,” Berger said.
Students who brought animals included Gabe Fear, Sam Bickel, Anthony Avery, Caleb Coffel, Gage Nettrour, Adam Deakins, Anna Grove, Deb Wise, Katelyn Hammon and Michaela Berger.
Berger said FFA members have to “earn the right to participate in Ag Day. Normally about 35-40 of them help with this project. They have certain requirements that they have to meet in order to qualify.”