21 Apr A day in the life: DSU students share agricultural knowledge with area youth at annual Kids Day on the Farm event
Written by Kayden Heckaman, DSU Student Intern
Spending a day on a farm is a great opportunity for those who live in urban areas to experience a lifestyle different from their own. There is one club at Dickinson State University (DSU) that brings the farm life to the city: the Agriculture Club. For the last 31 years, the Agriculture Club has hosted a free event, Kids Day on the Farm, at DSU’s indoor arena. During this event, members of the Agriculture Club share their knowledge with children from Dickinson and the surrounding communities and hope to pique their interest in the subject.
An event like this does not just happen overnight; it takes quite a bit of planning and preparation. In order to host Kids Day on the Farm, the Agriculture Club contacts many producers and agricultural organizations. Every supplier that helps with this event has the gratitude of the Agriculture Club, especially the Krebs family, which has helped the Agriculture Club order items for their goodies bags and brings animals to the DSU campus every year.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, social distancing was the main concern for Club members as they planned the event. Members of the Agriculture Club usually group guests together to take them on guided tours through the arena. This year, they had to come up with a way to manage social distancing during the tours, and they did! The large tour groups consisted only of visiting students from individual area classrooms. Other tours consisted of small groups or families. The Agriculture Club also asked that every guest wear a face covering.
On the morning of the event, the parking lot filled quickly with the vehicles of parents and grandparents as well as school buses bringing more than 1,000 children and students for a day of fun and learning.
Guided tours were held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the last of the tours starting at 3:30 p.m. Tours ran every 15 minutes, lasting 60-75 minutes. During the tours, guests enjoyed many different activities. Children were able to learn about different grains grown in the area and had the opportunity to grind their own wheat. Later on, they learned about shearing sheep and how the wool is treated in order to clean it. The kids were also able to try to rope rodeo practice dummies, and they had fun even if they did not hit their mark! There were also guest rodeo queens visiting with those who attended. However, the main attraction for the children featured animals they could interact with. The event allowed them the opportunity to gather around bunnies, little potbelly pigs, ducks, and many other animals. One friendly goose made its presence known, honking continuously as it received much attention. “My favorite was the animals,” several children said, clearly happy about being able to pet them. At the end of the tour, everyone was able to enjoy a treat of milk and cookies.
Outside the arena, visitors piled into horse-drawn wagons to take a ride around the grounds. A shining new Case IH tractor and combine harvester also sat outside the arena for children to look at. One woman who brought her grandchildren to the event said her grandson was more excited about the equipment than anything else.
By the end of the day, the Agriculture Club had met their goal of showing the wonder of agriculture to local children. The club’s president, Lily McFadden, believes that Kids Day on the Farm has a lasting impact on children. “I believe that providing this opportunity will only grow appreciation for agriculture,” said McFadden, “along with fueling the fire within the younger generation to participate in it.”
Visit DSU’s Flickr page to see photos from Kids Day on the Farm!