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February 16, 2017 08:17 AM

Adopt A Farmer Program Brings The Farm To School

Tea, SD

It was a break from daily lessons and homework for one classroom in Tea as students learned what life is like on the farm. Even though South Dakota has a large agricultural industry, many students still aren't aware of what life is really like on the farm, until they got a visit from Heidi Selken. 

"My grandpa has a farm but I didn't really know a whole lot about it because he's a retired farmer now," said fourth grader Emmalee Hindberg. 

"My uncle has a farm but it's not a dairy farm," said fourth grader Sonya Larson. 

"Some of the questions I've had, you know, 'How do you tell the boy calves from the girl calves?'" Selken said. "'If you're operating 24 hours a day how to do sleep?' We have other employees, I don't work that hard."

She said learning how the food gets from the farm to the table, is important.

"Sometimes when you're in school you think, 'When am I ever going to use this?'" says Selken. "Down the line — whether it's a steak or a gallon of milk — when you drive by those fields, that's somebody's next meal."

Each student in the classroom had their own takeaways from the experience:

"Cows kind of eat how they eat and throw it back up and chew it again," Hindberg said. 

"They spit out their food and then chew it back up," Larson said. 

Even if a career in farming isn't in their future.
Claire Lavezzorio: Would you ever want to live on a farm?
Larson: I don't know if I could handle the smells and stuff.
Selken hopes they think a little differently the next time they drive past the cows. 

"It's important no matter where you live to know a little bit about where your food comes from and how it gets from the cow to you," Selken said. 

Selken has been involved in the "Adopt A Farmer" program through Ag United for the past four years and spends a lot of her time traveling to schools across South Dakota.
  • Education
  • Elementary
  • Livestock
  • Crops
  • Agriculture
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