Published by Country Folks at: https://countryfolks.com/youth-organizations-highlighted-at-afbf-convention/
by Enrico Villamaino
Statistically speaking, the American farmer is getting old. According to the Census of Agriculture, released by the USDA, the age of the average American farmer is nearly 59 years old. This average has slowly been creeping upward for the past 20 years. If left unchecked, this trend could have serious consequences for farming in the future.
In order to address and combat what could very well be a farmer shortage in the years to come, numerous organizations at the 100th annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention are determined to educate, interest and engage young people across the U.S. in the history of husbandry, the science of agriculture and the opportunities for those who wish to pursue farming as a career.
4-H, the USDA’s own youth organization, operating under the auspices of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, strives to instill a strong sense of citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering and conquering problems through technology. Many of these initiatives are presented with an eye toward agricultural applications.
“Our motto is ‘To make the best better’ and our slogan is ‘Learn by doing,’” explained Gabrielle Fontenot of Louisiana 4-H, who was on hand for the convention in New Orleans. “We’re here at the convention to showcase that these are things worth learning and can definitely help young people in their futures.”
Headquartered at the U.S. Department of Education’s Offices of Vocational and Adult Education, the National FFA is a “career and technical student organization…based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education.”
The efforts to involve and interest students in farming is not restricted to just teenagers. The Genesee County Farm Bureau (GCFB), located in western New York State, was at the AFBF convention exhibiting its “Kinderfarmin’” program. Kinderfarmin’ is a premier event of the local farm bureau. Taking place annually, the event “engages all kindergarteners throughout the county,” according to GCFB Pro Education Chair Natasha Sutherland. “Local dairy farms take turns hosting the event where students, teachers and parents alike explore the world of our county’s largest agricultural industry.”
GCFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Co-Chair Emmaline Long added that the event includes “hands-on learning stations, interactive demonstrations and guided farm tours.” These activities are meant to teach children the importance of farming in their daily lives and – hopefully – spark an interest in farming as a profession when they grow up.
For more information on these organizations, visit www.4h.org, www.ffa.org and www.geneseecountyfarmbureau.com.
Published by The Daily News at: https://www.thedailynewsonline.com/bdn01/kinderfarmin-gives-kids-the-full-view-of-a-dairy-farm-20180607&
CORFU — As kindergartners from Byron-Bergen stepped forward for a third or fourth brush of the surprisingly soft sand in a free-stall barn at the Reyncrest dairy farm, volunteer Tasha Sutherland knew how to pull their attention back.
“Let’s talk about poo,” Sutherland said, continuing a Kinderfarmin’ conversation that showed more than 600 students every aspect of a cow’s life.
Students were excited to hear about the foods cows are fed, how they relax, grow from calves and are milked. And yes, even how they relieve themselves.
Sutherland explained to students how farmers use the three daily milking sessions to come through and clean the barns of any future-fertilizer. But the free-stall setup gives the cows a great deal of independence.
“They can pick wherever they want to sleep, wherever they want to eat,” Sutherland told her group. “There’s two water troughs and they can go wherever they want to go in their group ... the only things the people tell them what to do is the three times per day they are milked.”
Put on each June by the Genesee County Farm Bureau, Kinderfarmin’ returned Wednesday to an all-in-one farm where the Reynolds family manages 2,200 acres and 1,300 milking cows. The youngest animals were greeted by waves of students for an up-close view that fit with activities where kids whipped up and tasted butter, tried their hand at a simulated milking station and climbed up onto tractors.