Beth Farmer with the Cherokee County Farm Service Agency was one of the many participants in this year’s Farm City Days 2012 held at the Sand Rock Livestock Arena Oct. 9-11 for all kindergarten through third grade students in the Cherokee County School System.
“My name is Beth Farmer and I work for the farm service agency in Cherokee County,” Farmer told students under the pavilion of the Sand Rock Live Stock Arena. “And I am so fortunate. I get to work with farmers every single day. And that is one of my favorite things to do.
“As you can tell by my last name, Farmer, I not only get to work with farmers but I live with one too. And not only is our name Farmer, but we farm on top of that. I never get away from farming. I am with it seven days a week, 24 hours a day, so I never leave it. But I love it. It is my passion.”
“I know because you are older than the group I had this morning, you know that when you go to grocery store to get your food, you know how that food gets to the grocery story don’t you?” said Farmer. “That’s right, a farmer grows that food and gets it to the grocery store for us so we can buy it from the grocery store.”
“How many of you have gardens at home?” Farmer asked. “How many of you like working in those gardens?”
“We like to have that home grown food,” said Farmer. “We know it is grown safely and extra tasty because we love to eat it.”
“We have farmers that grow tomatoes,” Farmer told another group. “These are soybeans. You can actually roast the beans and eat those, but a lot of times we press them, get the oil out of them and we use the oil in cooking.”
Farmer also had pumpkins on display.
“Not only do we use pumpkins for decorating but we also eat the pumpkins,” said Farmer. “The farmers grow the pumpkins for us.”
“You know how we use cotton,” said Farmer. “That is what our clothes, blue jeans are made of. Did you know that from the seeds in this cotton, we can get oil? And a lot of the time, we eat things which have cotton seed oil in them. Who likes Chocolate chip cookies? I do too. And if you look on the box of chocolate chip cookies, they have cottonseed oil in them.”
Farmer said she was pleased with how this year’s Farm City Days went.
“It is wonderful,” said Farmer. “We always have great participation from all the schools, and we just really appreciate that, not only just the students coming, but the ag teachers come and work and bring their students with them to work. We just couldn’t do it without all that great help and support from the school system we get. The children are just having a blast and you see in the barn how we have a lot of people that just volunteer their time and bring their animals and stay with their animals so the children can see the animals and be a part of the barn experience too.”
This year’s Farm City Days, Farmer said, featured a You Tube video entitled I Am a Farmer and I Grow It which was shown in the Sand Rock School Gymnasium across the street.
“They are really getting a special kick out of that video,” said Farmer. “A group of girls are teaching some dance steps with it, so they are just having a great time.”
Farmer said her presentation was about getting back to the basics of where our food comes from.
“I tell them how farmers growth the different types of food, things they don’t think about,” said Farmer. “They don’t think about cotton. Not only do we use the fiber but we also use the oil for the seeds in a lot of our food. We also use the oil from soybeans, so they are not as familiar with those crops as far as a food product as they are familiar with something growing out of a garden. They are really having a blast on the playground.”
“There is a cotton wagon ride, stick ponies, a cotton picker slide, a hay stack, corn crib sack races,” said Farmer. “There is a group that comes in and teaches them how to rope. And in the barn they get to see all the animals and the Humane Society is here with us too. They are passing out some color pages about spaying and neutering pets and taking care of their animals.”
“They are just having a great time,” said Farmer. “We are just trying to give them a very broad picture of farming and experiences. We also have equipment, antique tractors, but we also have equipment donated by Snead Ag, the John Deer Place and also The Tractor Place. The kids love to get on those tractors and pretend they are driving, blow the horns. They really enjoy it a lot.”