An estimated 1,700 second graders are expected to learn all about rural farm work and life and how agriculture plays a vital role in our everyday lives during this week’s Farm Days.
The event, sponsored by the Wilson County Farm Bureau Woman, UT Agriculture Extension Office and Wilson County Soil Conservation will be held from 8:30-11a.m. and from 11:30-2 P.M. on Wednesday and Thursday at the James E. Ward Agriculture Center.
“It teaches them about rural living,” explained Wilson County Deputy Charles Hobson, who also raises cattle in addition to his law enforcement job. Hobson has participated in the event every year since it began 14 years ago. “The kids get to see animals, and experience things they may not see in everyday life.”
Diane Major, who works with Wilson County Soil Conservation, said the school children “get really excited” about the event, which includes second graders from all Wilson County Schools, Lebanon Special Schools District and some home-schooled and private school students who want to come.
Among the exhibits are farm animals (which children can touch), including goats, dairy and beef cattle, chickens, pigs, horses; a working-bee-farm; and a veterinarian who discuss how to care for the farm animals. There will be sheep-shearing, a rodeo cowboy in full dress costume. “They get all torn up about the cowboy,” Major added.
The Wilson County Farm Bureau will show the children grains and what kinds of products are made from wheat and corn seeds in addition to the importance of good nutrition and how farming is essential to healthy living. A master gardener will demonstrate gardening and present each child a seed to plant at home. The Soil Conservation employees will have a soil tunnel and explain why it’s important to conserve soil, etc.
Other exhibits include farm equipment and ATV safety. The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office will bring its mobile command center and allow children to look around. The Tennessee Highway Patrol will bring a patrol car and allow some children to get inside. LifeFlight will bring a helicopter, Hobson said, adding, “They will teach them how important it is in a rural area to have a way to get people to hospitals during an emergency.”
Major said the event began with about 700 children but that number has swollen to 1,700. “This is an all-volunteer event. We have approximately 200 volunteers who donate their times and resources to make this a success every year. We couldn’t do it without them.”