Educating Youth About Agriculture

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Photo Credit: Taylor Jones

This past Friday, marked the third year of the Alamance County 4-H Youth Farm Tour.  Every year, I help organize and lead this event where we take 12 youth ages 9-18 and tour them around four different farms in the county and surrounding counties.  This tour has became quite popular among our young people- we even have a waiting list most years!  Some people may ask me why I put so much energy into educating our youth about agriculture.  I can tell you why- youth are our FUTURE.  They are future policy makers, commissioners, county managers, CEO’s, teachers, farmers, and so much MORE!

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This year, we wanted to incorporate more field crops education.  We started the day off with a speaker from the NC Soybeans Producers Association.  She talked about soybean farmers, soybean products, and more!

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Next, we made a quick stop to our farm, 3B Cattle Company to learn about beef cattle, horses, and farming equipment.  I wanted to give the youth a close up view of our beef cattle herd and talk about the importance of rotational grazing and good herd management.  I also talked some about our Quarter Horses, Buddy and Katt.  Lastly, I took them over to meet our fat steer and newest herd bull to talk about a few things like how many pounds of beef one steer will provide, etc.

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Our next stop involved lunch!  We toured the Carolina Stockyards in Siler City where I taught the youth about marketing cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs.  They have the best restaurant, if you have never eaten there you need to!  We all had burgers!  We were able to stay a little while and watch the weekly Friday auction.

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Our first afternoon stop included Car-J Holsteins in Graham, NC.  We toured their soybean, corn, and sorghum fields first and then the dairy.  Youth learned about the important of field crops for feeding the dairy cattle.  We toured the calf barn, milking parlor, feed shed, and show cattle barn.

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We saved the best for last with a tour of Wingin’ It Farms!  Youth learned about dairy goats, poultry, and guardian livestock dogs.  We were able to go in the pen with the dairy goats, kids, and dogs to learn more about breeds and goat care.  We were able to meet one of the chickens and watch a dairy goat milking demonstration!

Youth were beaming at the end of the day because who doesn’t love riding around in a van with their friends, touring farms, and playing with animals?!  We had so many great questions throughout the day and you could tell that all the youth learned a lot from the tours.

Next time you are given a chance to help a young person learn- don’t pass the opportunity up!  We (Extension, 4-H) always need great volunteers like these farmers to help us in our mission to educate!

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About Lauren Langley

Co-manager at 3B Cattle Company, Livestock Extension Agent at NCSU/Alamance County, NCSU Alumni
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