This year the Women’s Committee wanted to focus a lot of attention on promoting a very effective program for the Governor’s Agriculture Awareness Week. First, the Women’s Committee got together to outline their plan of action. Next, the committee needed to find a fifth grade teacher who was willing and excited about getting involved in this program.
Jennifer Allen, a fifth grade teacher at Middle Ridge Elementary School was very excited about getting involved in the Agriculture Awareness program and applying for the award. Two of the Women’s Committee members met with Mrs. Allen in early January to discuss what activities they could work on together to help her students to learn about Agriculture. One of the committee members suggested the students research and build their own farm from the ground up. Allen loved this idea and was happy to let volunteers come to her class for the week and work with her students.
With all the testing and activities her class was involved in, Allen chose the week of March 1 through March 5 to have the activity. Each day of the week five volunteers came to her class to help the students with building their farm. The volunteers included three of the Women’s Committee Members and two FFA students from one of our local high schools.
On Monday the volunteers spent some time talking to the students about the type of agriculture we have in Georgia and they watched the "Without Farmers, Georgia Can’t Grow" video. The class had 27 students and each student got to choose the farm they wanted to build from Beef, Poultry, Swine, Dairy, and Row Crops. The students were placed into five groups according to the type of farm they wanted to build and one of our volunteers worked closely with each group. Now the students began the research of what they would need to start a farm operation and how to make it productive and financially stable.
On Tuesday the students finished their research and began constructing a model of their farm. Watching the students learn how much money and hard work is required to run a farm operation was very cool. The students enjoyed building their models and this activity really made the project personal.
On Wednesday the students learned about soil composition. One of the activities on Wednesday was to make an eatable dirt pie. The pie had a different type of yummy treat for each layer of our earth. They also had some time to continue work on their farm operations.
On Thursday a representative from Ag South Bank came and spent time with the class. He talked with each group about the farm they were planning. The groups learned how agriculture loans worked for their specific commodity and what other financial tools are available for agricultural operations.
On Friday, the County Extension Agent taught the class about vegetable gardening and each student got to plant a vegetable and take it home to be planted outside when the weather is warmer. After this each group got to give a presentation to the class covering how they planned to start their farm and what they would need to be productive and financially stable.
Each group was asked what they learned from the week’s activities and the overwhelming reply was "Farmers work very hard and have to love what they do." The week was a huge success and very rewarding for all those who were involved.