Montana: Farm Fair provides hands-on education about agriculture | TSLN.com

Montana: Farm Fair provides hands-on education about agriculture

Bill Brewster

Farm Fair 2011 is on the horizon for May 10-12 at the Brainard Ranch near Manhattan, MT, with an extra day now scheduled to meet the growing interest from area schools.

The popular educational program, sponsored by the Belgrade and Bozeman Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee, is expected to draw some 900 fourth grade students and their teachers from more than a dozen elementary schools to the working ranch. There they will receive hands-on lessons about agriculture production, economics, soil science, animal science, environmental management and information about careers in agriculturally related fields.

In its seventh year, the program has been coordinated by Duane Burkenpas of Bozeman, MT, a former John Deere implement dealer and champion of Future Farmers of American projects and the agricultural industry in Montana.

“The mission of the Gallatin Valley Agriculture Committee’s Farm Fair is to provide a rural ranch atmosphere where students and teachers and administrators have the opportunity to see and touch where our basic food originates,” Burkenpas said, “and how it is processed for human consumption.”

He also pointed out that the Farm Fair demonstrates agriculture’s commitment to protecting the natural resources on which the industry depends for its livelihood.

Even in states like Montana, where agriculture is the number-one industry, a large percentage of the population does not understand the finer points of production agriculture and the care that producers provide for their land and livestock, Burkenpas noted.

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With more than nine hundred fourth grade students in the public school system, and additional students being taught in private and home school environments, the Farm Fair has responded to input from school officials to include more students in this educational program.

At the Farm Fair, professional people in each field staff 18 positions where students stop for 15 minute sessions to obtain hands-on experience about the topics.

Curriculum stations are: Water cycle; bees/pollination; weed identification; irrigation and soil conservation; forestry; beef cattle; dairy and cow milking; dairy goats and cheese; sheep; Gallatin Valley crops; farm safety; making “tin can” ice cream; pleasure horses; hogs; potatoes; 4-H; the field-to-table story of wheat; and draft horses.

The experience is enhanced with wagon rides into an adjoining field to explain the facts about conservation, crop rotation and to look at a working irrigation system.

A free lunch is provided each day and an on-site first aid station is provided with paramedics on staff along with security provided by the Gallatin Sheriff’s Posse.

Additional information about the Farm Fair is available through the Belgrade and Bozeman Chambers of Commerce.

Farm Fair 2011 is on the horizon for May 10-12 at the Brainard Ranch near Manhattan, MT, with an extra day now scheduled to meet the growing interest from area schools.

The popular educational program, sponsored by the Belgrade and Bozeman Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Committee, is expected to draw some 900 fourth grade students and their teachers from more than a dozen elementary schools to the working ranch. There they will receive hands-on lessons about agriculture production, economics, soil science, animal science, environmental management and information about careers in agriculturally related fields.

In its seventh year, the program has been coordinated by Duane Burkenpas of Bozeman, MT, a former John Deere implement dealer and champion of Future Farmers of American projects and the agricultural industry in Montana.

“The mission of the Gallatin Valley Agriculture Committee’s Farm Fair is to provide a rural ranch atmosphere where students and teachers and administrators have the opportunity to see and touch where our basic food originates,” Burkenpas said, “and how it is processed for human consumption.”

He also pointed out that the Farm Fair demonstrates agriculture’s commitment to protecting the natural resources on which the industry depends for its livelihood.

Even in states like Montana, where agriculture is the number-one industry, a large percentage of the population does not understand the finer points of production agriculture and the care that producers provide for their land and livestock, Burkenpas noted.

With more than nine hundred fourth grade students in the public school system, and additional students being taught in private and home school environments, the Farm Fair has responded to input from school officials to include more students in this educational program.

At the Farm Fair, professional people in each field staff 18 positions where students stop for 15 minute sessions to obtain hands-on experience about the topics.

Curriculum stations are: Water cycle; bees/pollination; weed identification; irrigation and soil conservation; forestry; beef cattle; dairy and cow milking; dairy goats and cheese; sheep; Gallatin Valley crops; farm safety; making “tin can” ice cream; pleasure horses; hogs; potatoes; 4-H; the field-to-table story of wheat; and draft horses.

The experience is enhanced with wagon rides into an adjoining field to explain the facts about conservation, crop rotation and to look at a working irrigation system.

A free lunch is provided each day and an on-site first aid station is provided with paramedics on staff along with security provided by the Gallatin Sheriff’s Posse.

Additional information about the Farm Fair is available through the Belgrade and Bozeman Chambers of Commerce.

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