YORKSHIRE — The Versailles FFA sponsored its 44th annual Farm Day on Friday, an educational and fun field trip for local elementary students. More than 600 students attended with more than 200 parents and chaperones along for the trip.
Farm Day is designed to teach children about where their food comes from and how the American farm operates in the modern age.
This year, Farm Day was held at Hoelscher Farms outside of Yorkshire on North Star Fort Loramie Road at the home of Versailles FFA member Janelle Hoelscher. It is owned by Steve and Aimee Hoelscher. Versailles FFA members would like to send out a special thanks to the Hoelschers for hosting the event.
Students from Darke, Shelby and Miami counties attended, including children from Versailles Elementary, Ansonia Elementary, Russia Elementary, Franklin Monroe Elementary, Bradford Elementary, Holy Angels and Covington Elementary.
Farm Day is set up in 12 stations, which are led by Versailles FFA students. Classes are led around the farm by group leaders, all of whom are current FFA members. The elementary students spent about two and a half hours on the farm, learning about various agricultural interests and enjoying various snacks along the way.
One of the most popular stations is always the cow milking station, at which students learned about the modern and traditional methods of milking a cow, with the opportunity to try out milking a cow themselves.
At the french fry station, students learned various uses for the potato and where their french fries come from. They even got to enjoy their own cup of french fries topped off with ketchup.
There was a wildlife station led by Daniel Francis from Auglaize Soil and Water. He taught about native wildlife, and the students had the opportunity to touch the pelts of various native animals.
A station was taught about bees and their role in agriculture and gardening.
A very important stop on the tour was the farm safety station, where children learned about the hazards of modern farm life, including grain bins, PTO shafts, various large and small farm equipment, and more.
At the cookies and milk station, students got a snack of cookies and milk, donated by Reiter Dairy, while they learned about the components of the cookies and traced them back to the American farm.
Students got another treat at the yogurt station, where they learned about how yogurt is made and got to enjoy a cup of yogurt donated by Dannon.
There was a petting zoo station, complete with kittens, puppies, baby rabbits, chicks, calves, a lamb and goats. Keller Grain donated the baby chickens for the petting zoo.
At the beef and pork stations, students learned about the various products beyond meat that come from cattle and swine.
The water quality station was taught by Doug Steinbrunner, of Darke County Soil and Water. He taught about erosion, agricultural runoff and the importance of clean water.
At the sheep station, students learned about sheep and wool, and the hands-on activities involved in showing sheep.
At the corn and soybean station, students learned about livestock feed rations and made their own feed ration out of goldfish crackers, pretzel sticks, M&Ms and Chex Mix.
All the children who participated in farm day were sent home with a goodie bag filled with coloring books, bookmarks, pencils and other materials promoting agriculture.
Versailles FFA offered a special thanks to the donors, sponsors and volunteers who made the day possible, including Monica Goubeaux, Mark Hess, Julie Bergman, Christa Puthoff, Taylor Tyo, Clair Schmitmeyer, Line View Dairy Farm, Doug Schmitmeyer and family, Darke and Miami County Farm Bureaus, Ohio Pork Producers, Mid East UDIA, Ohio Soybean Associatin, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Janet Mendenall, Doug Steinbrunner, Daniel Francis, David Barlage, Erika Grogean, Ryan Sorensen, Leo Vogel, Shelby Winner, Laney Petitjean, Emily Clack, Sarah Kremer, Justine Francis, and Steve and Aimee Hoelscher and family.