Acting like animals

Youths get hands-on agricultural experience

After a chili dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, residents will be able to purchase, auction-style, eight hours of labor from one of about 50 students who have volunteered to participate. The money raised helps FFA participants attend state and national events. The dinner and auction are open to the public.

Five-year-old Sarah Schwingdorf has never been as close to a goose as she was Tuesday morning, but said she was more interested in meeting a horse.

"I thought it was pretty," she said.

Sarah spent Tuesday morning in the Moffat County High School vocational/agriculture shop getting a taste of the barnyard scene. In honor of National FFA Week, the 45 members of Craig's FFA chapter invited all the district's kindergarten students to its annual children's barnyard.

"This allows kids to get a little information on agriculture," said FFA President Eric Wellman, a senior. "Even though Craig is a very rural community, there are still kids who have never had contact with a cow or a horse."

FFA students set up pens Monday and arrived at school at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to unload animals brought from their farms.

Among the attractions that made for a petting zoo of sorts were a horse, cows, goats, pigs, chicken, sheep, a duck and a rabbit. Students also got to plant flowers, sit in the driver's seat of a tractor and view a roping demonstrating.

The roping was a hit for 5-year-old Gage Rowley.

"I got to throw a rope and try to pull the cow's head off," he said. "Well, it was really a bull."

The event is a favorite of Cassie Moon, who has been an FFA member for three years.

"They love this, especially getting to see all the animals," she said.

FFA is an agricultural education program that provides a practical approach to learning through three components:

  • Classroom education in agricultural subjects such as plant and animal sciences, horticulture, forestry and agrimarketing;
  • Hands-on supervised agricultural career experience such as starting a business or working for an established company;
  • Extra-curricular involvement, which provides leadership opportunities and tests students' agricultural skills.

"I like everything about FFA," Moon said. "I like to help little kids and help our community. It's all fun."

On Friday, high school students will be at Craig Middle School recruiting the next group of young agriculture enthusiasts.

"FFA helps develop skills that help you succeed in life," Wellman said. "Agriculture is a major part, but it's so much more than just agriculture."

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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