Learning the ins and outs of agriculture

CHAZY - Since 1982, staff at the William H. Miner Agriculture Research Institute have been teaching fifth-graders the basics of agriculture in the community. And, from June 8-10, nearly 500 students from eight different schools in the county were introduced to "Farm Days for Fifth-Graders."

"Fifth-graders are a kind of funny age to work with because they're still willing to ask questions," said Wanda Emerich, dairy outreach coordinator for the institute. "They tend to have a little bit more background to understand what we're talking about. So, we decided to focus on fifth grade."

Emerich, who has been working with the program since 1983, said the students tour eight different stations throughout the institute, from horse behavior and care, to field equipment, to cows.

"[The main goal is] to expose the students to agriculture as a part of our community and to show students where milk comes from, what kind of technology and equipment is used in producing milk," said Emerich. "Also, where horses fit into that farming community."

Emerich said one of the main reasons they focus on the care and behavior of horses is because of the age group they are working with.

"When they get to be about 12, a lot of kids want to have a horse," Emerich said. "So, we want to teach them it's more than just riding the horse."

Emerich has found one of the reasons it is so important for the fifth grade classes to take part in Farm Days is to help them better understand the community, which is so agriculturally-based.

"Hopefully, it gets them a little bit curious about nutrition and dairy research," she said.

This year, students from Rouses Point, Cumberland Head, Saranac, Morrisonville, Momot, Mooers, Northeastern Adirondack, and Chazy elementary schools took part in Farm Days for Fifth-Graders.

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