Future farmers help next generation
Published 8:12 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005
By by Tim Cottrell
With fewer Americans involved in production agriculture than ever before, and the number dropping every day, Northview's chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) took a day to show elementary students the ropes.
Over 600 students and other guests visited the school Thursday for the 10th annual "Food For America" program at Northview. Perry Byars, Agriculture Instructor and FFA Sponsor at Northview, described the program's goals.
"It's kind of a play on words," Byars said. "FFA, Food For America. It's designed to educate elementary students about food production and agriculture. We have a number of exhibits, from the extension service to catfish farms."
According to a press release, there were also exhibits about bird feeders, bird habitat, forestry products, making butter, good diet habits, bee keeping, peanut production, horticulture plants, various farm animals and farm equipment demonstrations.
When driving down County Road 4 the scene was a sight to behold, with fire trucks, livestock, several other exhibits, and 600 children mixed amongst the exhibits.
Brandon Walker, a sophomore at Northview and member of the FFA, talked a bit about his role in the event.
"I'm doing the machinery and farm equipment demonstrations," Walker said. "A little bit of what is involved is that kids can see agriculture in action. They can touch the animals around here. The kids seem to enjoy it and it's a really good hands-on experience. I still remember coming here for this when I was a first-grader."
Byars was proud of the work the school has put in to "Food For America."
"This is our 10th year doing this," he said. "We finished second-place in awards applications for this program last year and have finished in the Top 5 the last 10 years for it. There were seven different schools here."
According to a press release, those schools, all from the Escambia (Fla.) School District, were Bratt Elementary School, Byrneville Elementary, Carver/Century Elementary, Molino Park Elementary, Monticlair Elementary, Jim Allen Elementary, and Sherwood Elementary.
In addition to this program, the Northview FFA is extremely active throughout the year. Byars talked about the club.
"We have about 90 dues paid FFA members," Byars said. "We have about 110 students who participate in the program. Another club called the Beekeepers Club is helping us today. We attend state and national competitions, livestock and horse judgings, and prepared public speaking. We're active all the time."