As Denair Elementary Charter Academy third graders Brynn Spencer and Avery Haden sat on the grass near the Denair High School gym to pet a baby calf, they both smiled as they envisioned themselves raising an animal of their own one day as a member of Future Farmers of America.
“We learned about how heavy and big the tractors are, but my favorite part has been touching the animals and seeing how they are growing,” said Spencer. “I really want to raise an animal when I grow up.”
Spencer and Haden were one of many students from DECA and Denair Middle School to visit the high school campus on Thursday during Denair FFA’s annual Ag Day, and according to juniors Courtney Prock and Cierra Rodriguez, the interest in FFA displayed by the two third graders was one of the day’s many goals.
“We want to show them how basically everything is revolved around agriculture,” said Prock. “Especially if they don’t have an ag family background.”
“And hopefully later on when they get into high school, they’ll want to be involved in FFA,” added Rodriguez.
Prock and Rodriguez helped man the petting zoo, which included calves, goats and chicks, along with freshman Jacob Lewellen during the Thursday event.
“Whenever the kids go over to pet the animals, they are all excited and trying to climb the fence to pet them and touch them,” said Lewellen. “One of the boys that came over here came up to me and said, ‘This is the best day ever!’”
According to agriculture teacher Molly Hanson, Denair FFA has hosted this event for years with the goal to expose all students in Denair to agriculture and to “open their eyes and get them acquainted with all different aspects involved in ag.”
“There are so many different aspects involving ag and we just want to give a day for the little guys to really see what it really all encompasses,” said Hanson. “If you get them interested early it can be something that develops into a career a passion.”
In addition to interacting with different farm animals, students also learned about various farm equipment and visited with different agriculture-related businesses and organizations, including My Job Depends on Ag, Nutcher Milk Company and the Department of Veterinary Services. FFA members also helped students plant their very own flower to take home with them.
“It’s important to have an event like this because I know all about agriculture because I was born and raised on a dairy,” said DHS junior and Denair FFA vice president Bryson Prock. “But for kids who were not, they need to experience this so they know how much work goes into their food. It’s doesn’t just appear on the shelves at the store.”