Michigan Family Farms Conference Youth Visit Olivet FFA
posted on February 9, 2015 3:23pm
Written by Rick Pierson, Calhoun County USDA Farm Service Agency and Conference Planning Committee Member
Interested youth attending the Family Farm Conference (FFC) visited the Olivet High School FFA Barn and Greenhouse in the afternoon last Saturday. The youth attending the 2015 FFC took a short bus ride to the Olivet High School facilities after lunch. They arrived to a group of Future Farmers of America (FFA) students whom had their FFA school barn full of animals and prepared to give a series of presentations. They discussed a number of common foods and how they make their way from the family farm to the grocery store. They also discussed nutrition and how the foods discussed play a role in meeting those nutritional needs.
The FFC youth then took a tour of the barn and learned how farm grains are ground onsite to make feed for pigs and cattle. The main portion of the barn is divided up for grain storage, pens to raise pigs and a larger pen for cattle. Additional presentations were held on converting corn to ethanol which included a small scale ethanol plant and hands-on containers with the product in them at various stages of production. Special stations were also toured with rabbits, sheep, goats and chickens. A horse, miniature pony and turkey were also a part of the tour.
The FFC youth then toured the FFA greenhouse where they raise plants and pot them in hanging baskets to sell and raise money for their FFA Chapter. Mr. Doug Pennington, Olivet High School FFA Director, taught the youth how to take cuttings from various plants and pot them to start new plants. He then helped those attending take cuttings and pot plants of their choice to take home and nurture as their own.
This special tour developed for the youth attending the conference was an extraordinary event! Aside from all of the presentations that were prepared, shared and absorbed; there was a very exciting synergy that developed between the FFC youth from the city and the FFA youth from the family farms.
As adults many of us just stood back and watched as the youth came together first just asking and answering questions; which then developed into some deeper discussions about the animals, farming and what had been shared. The tour brought together youth from varied backgrounds and some really cool learning about each other occurred. It was clear that both groups of youth were enjoying the conversations and growing a little more aware of a special place called the “Family Farm” and their connection to it!