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October 14, 2005   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
October 14, 2005

Alabama Farmers Federation State Women's Committee Chairman Sharon Turner talks to students about peanut production Oct. 6 during a Farm Day at Mulkey Elementary School in Geneva.
GENEVA, Ala.-- More than 500 Geneva County children had a chance to learn about life on the farm Oct. 6 during a Farm Day at Mulkey Elementary School.

Alabama Farmers Federation State Women's Committee Chairman Sharon Turner, who participated in the Farm Day, said teachers Melinda Scott, Connie Tiner, Dianne Elliott, Cyndia Reeves, Denise Sanders and Gena Holley decided to organize the event after attending the Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Summer Institute.

"They enjoyed the program so much that they came back and enthusiastically planned a farm day for their school and carried it out," Turner said. "It was a lot of extra work for them, but the kids seemed to enjoy it, and it gave them a better appreciation for agriculture."

The Farm Day included a petting zoo, the Mobile Dairy Classroom and demonstrations by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) and local peanut, cotton and corn farmers. Turner, who raises peanuts with husband Charles, brought freshly dug peanuts to show the kids, and Teresa Wilson of the APPA prepared homemade peanut butter. Lisa Crutchfield, a cotton farmer, gave a presentation on Alabama's top row crop, and Mary Baltikauski, who also serves as Extension System coordinator for Geneva County, taught the children about corn.

Turner said the Farm Day is a good example of how the AITC Summer Institute is helping spread the word about the importance of agriculture to the state and nation.

"AITC encourages teachers to include farm-related activities in their curriculum, and teachers who attend Summer Institute are more likely to do that," Turner said. "If we are ever going to encourage young people to enter farm-related occupations, we have to provide some educational experiences for them. During the Farm Day, only about 2-3 percent of the kids raised their hands and said they actually lived on farm. So, events like Farm Day may be the only opportunity some of these children have to learn about agriculture."

The Geneva County Farmers Federation and Women's Committee, which participated in the Mulkey Elementary Farm Day, is planning another Farm Day at Alpin Farms near Slocumb on Oct. 19. It will include all fifth-graders in Geneva County.

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