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Day on the farm
Glenn Brunkow
Glenn Brunkow, Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher

This past week I got to help with Pottawatomie County Farm Bureau’s Day on the Farm. Most of the schools in the county send their fourth-grade classes, and presenting at it is one of the highlights of my year. This year I got to talk about sheep, and I loved every minute of the day.

I was one of many volunteers including farmers, ranchers, law enforcement officers, extension agents, soil conservation representatives and many others who took time out of their day to share their slice of the agriculture pie with the students.

The kids had a million questions, and they were eager to pet the sheep. It seemed like we never got completely through the presentation before the horn sounded and it was time for them to move. I could hear a similar buzz from the other stations nearby.

Pottawatomie County has been putting its Day on the Farm on for more than 20 years, and I have had the honor of helping every year. This year the weather was perfect, but we have had years with wind, rain and less than warm temperatures. Even those years were great events and worth every minute of my time.

I also know what we do in Pottawatomie County is not unique. Many counties do similar events and others spend time going to classrooms to share their knowledge and passion for agriculture with students.

I start each session by asking the classes how many live on a farm. I usually get one, two or three. Then I ask how many have grandparents, aunts or uncles who farm or ranch. I usually get a few more hands but often we are only up to about half or less of the class. I consider Pottawatomie County a rural county and the first few years the numbers surprised me.

My little, informal survey highlights why we host these events and why we take the time to go to classrooms. Each generation gets farther and farther away from the farm and have less and less idea of how their food is raised. Education is the key to helping our future consumers understand the time and dedication we all put into growing the food on their table.

The time we spend hosting events like Day on the Farm or teaching in classrooms is one of the things of which I am most proud. It is also something that we cannot rest on our laurels, and I am sure we are not. Ag education will continue to be one of the most important parts of what our county Farm Bureaus do.

I am already penciling the Wednesday closest to Earth Day on my calendar for next year. It is an event I do not want to miss. I would also encourage each of you to contact your county Farm Bureau and volunteer to help with ag education, I promise it will be the highlight of your year.

“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service. Glenn Brunkow is a Pottawatomie County farmer and rancher.