By Joyce L. Ritchie
Students of the third grade of Ashland County were offered the opportunity to have lessons on the farm. Sponsored, in part by the Ashland County Farm Bureau Federation, students of Hillsdale, St. Edwards, Ashland Edison, Ashland Reagan, Loudonville and Mapleton took advantage of the invitation and spent a portion of the day on the Lahmer’s Dairy Farm south of Ashland.
Six learning stations were set up for the students. Members of the Crestview and Hillsdale FFA Chapters assisted the Farm Bureau members and volunteers. There was a conversation and demonstration of the processing of milk in the milk house and parlor led by Megan Cornish. A conversation on feed and water required by the dairy cow along with nutrition was led by Jessica Elliot while a few cows stood nearby. The students had the opportunity to attempt to milk a prototypical cow and the chance to touch feed samples along with Jessica Brown. A young calf was available to pet with information on calf care and growth assisted by two additional of the FFA volunteers.
Each of the students could make a soybean necklace that should sprout assisted by Payton Fickes. Leo Ringler manned the jeopardy spinning wheel to focus on a variety of ecological and resource uses with the students. Mitchel’s Orchard were on site for the last of the stations sharing tastes of various apple varieties and why apples are a vital part of a good diet.
Hand sanitizers were available at each station and were required for those enjoying the samples of the apples and samples of milk and ice cream produced on the farm and offered commercially were made available to each of the students.
The program has been offered to the students of Ashland County for nearly 30 years. Jenny Bernhard served as the coordinator with assistance by additional members of the Ashland County Farm Bureau with the passion to help bridge the gap of where and how our food comes to our plate. Most teachers will utilize the bag of materials distributed to each student and further unit studies upon their return to the classroom. Goodies bags were made for up to 600 students.