Annual FFA Farm Tour more than just fun time for K students

Huntington North High School FFA member Ty Miller (right) holds a newborn lamb so kindergarteners (from left) Cadence Smith, Colten Latta and Alexis Wine can pet it during the annual kindergarten farm tour on Friday, May 3, at the Carriage Lane Farm. The kids learned lessons from the FFA members about where their food and other products come from, such as wool for clothing.
Huntington North High School FFA member Ty Miller (right) holds a newborn lamb so kindergarteners (from left) Cadence Smith, Colten Latta and Alexis Wine can pet it during the annual kindergarten farm tour on Friday, May 3, at the Carriage Lane Farm. The kids learned lessons from the FFA members about where their food and other products come from, such as wool for clothing. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

The county’s kindergartners now have a better idea of where the food they eat comes from, after they attended the annual FFA Farm Tour, held May 3 at Carriage Lane Farms.

Hosted by Tom and Rosie Wall, they opened their doors to an exhibit of plants and animals that delighted kindergarten students, as members of the Huntington North High School FFA chapter served as educators and guides.

Stations were set up in a huge pole barn to skirt the inclement weather of the day, allowing youngsters to get up-close and personal with animals such as lambs and calves, and have fun riding a life-sized wooden rocking horse.

Agriculture education teacher and FFA club advisor Jaime Buckland noted the day provided a plethora of lessons for the kindergarten students, who attended from each Huntington County Community School Corporation elementary school as well as Huntington Catholic School, and also for her FFA members.

“Our students are learning patience and how to work with kids,” Buckland says, “and the kindergartners are learning about where their food comes from, and that’s the first big thing that we want them to learn today, is that their food is not just coming from the grocery store, it does come from the farm originally. So they have a better understanding of that, and just agriculture in general.”

The tradition of having the special tour day goes back about 35 years, Buckland says, with more than 15 years at the Walls’ farm, according to Evan Wall.

“This is a generational deal,” he explains. “We started doing it here in 2003. Our main focus here with FFA and with our farm is to teach kids that agriculture is more than what they say is ‘plow, cows and sows.’ We’re touching base on mostly the animal agriculture, but also with the planting of crops, it’s important for kids to know where their food comes from, and how much it takes to take care of these animals.”

Wall adds he hopes the children come away with a new respect for the rural way of life.

“Most people don’t understand that a lot of these kids don’t get to see animals like this, maybe but once a year at the county fair. They just get to see them; they don’t get to learn about them,” he says. “So here they have a chance to touch them, and they get told about them and what feed they eat, and how their feed is grown.”

There were lots of baby animals during the tour, with newborn lambs and ducklings to pet and two new foals born just three days earlier. There were sheep, goats, a pony and a burro and even chicks that could be observed hatching out of their eggs. There were also more exotic types of animals to visit such as camels and a kangaroo.

Young Wila Brown, 6, a pupil in Heather Moore’s kindergarten class at Salamonie School, recited what she learned during the tour.
“That horses eat grain and hay, and cows – some farmers put mineral rocks in their grain, and baby cows eat milk from their mom, and so do horses,” she says. “Some people that live in the city, they got to come and learn about all the farm animals.”

Wall says other kids and adults alike can also see the animals when Carriage Lane Farm opens up to visitors sometime in the fall.