Students To Go 'Down On The Farm' May 13

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Fourth graders from across Cannon County are making plans to attend the annual “Down on the Farm” planned for Friday, May 13th.

Farmers from across the county are invited attend the 8:00 A.M. breakfast and opening ceremonies. We want to recognize local farmers during the “kick-off” of this year’s Down on the Farm.

“Students from across the county will have the opportunity to meet local producers and realize the diversity of the local agriculture community,” according to Lou Nave, President of the Cannon County Farm Bureau Women.

The event hosted by the U.T. Extension and Cannon County Farm Bureau began in 2004 as a way to bring the community together, teach youth about the importance of production agriculture, and give them an awareness of where their food came from.

Beginning in 2004, the first Cannon County  farm day was at the John Vickers’ family dairy in the eastern part of the county. Participants were allowed to milk a cow, visit a petting zoo, learn about 4-wheeler safety, and see some modern agriculture equipment. The years 2005 and 2006 saw  the venue changed to the Raymond Pedigo farm in the southern part of the county.

In addition to the activities listed earlier, we were fortunate to have representatives of Tennessee Technological University come out and conduct two demonstrations in the creek to teach youth about aquatic life found in their own backyard.

Upon the completion of the Cannon County Expo Center in 2007, Cannon County “4-H on the Farm” (Down on the Farm) had found its permanent home, being located to the Cannon County fairgrounds. Since 2007, 4th graders from around the county have experienced a wide variety of educational stops such as “Creek Creatures”, “Soil of a different color”, “Fear Factor Flavor Milk”, and “Germ City.”

Of course, our farm day remains chock full of exhibits and demonstrations with 4-H beef, sheep, goat, and dairy project group members as well as a host of tractors, combines, ambulances, and other agricultural equipment for the group to see. “4-H on the Farm” (Down on the Farm) has enjoyed tremendous support from local and county officials from its inception, according to Bruce Steelman, County Director with the U.T. Extension in Cannon County.

Some of the honorees and special guests of the event have included former State Representative and House Ag. Committee Chair Stratton Bone, State Senator Mae Beavers, Governor Phil Bredesen, Commissioner of Agriculture Ken Givens, U.S. Representative Lincoln Davis, Cannon County Agriculture Committee, former Agents of Cannon County, and many others.

Excessive rains during the spring of 2009 forced the cancellation of the event. Determined not to let the inclement weather take away from the spirit and education of the day, UT Extension staff and volunteers formed a “Farm Day on the Road” and visited all six grammar schools with farm animals, exhibits, and demonstrations to all 4th graders in the county.

In celebration of the Centennial of UT Extension and Tennessee 4-H; the 2010 edition of “4-H on the Farm” (Down on the Farm) saw participants “take a walk through the century” as former Cannon County agents and the County Agriculture Committee were recognized and the educational exhibits and demonstrations included: antique farm equipment, mule buggy rides for the kids, home food preservation, and spinning wool into yarn.

Since its inception in 2004, “4-H on the Farm” has touched the lives of approximately 800 youth. None of this would be possible without the support from organizations such as: Cannon County Farm Bureau, Cannon County Board of Education, UT Extension TNCEP program, Cannon County FCE, Farm Credit Services,  Woodbury Farmers Cooperative, Farm Credit Services, Department of Forestry, Cannon County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Department of Safety,  Martin Daniel farms, Whippoorwill Farms, James B. Jernigan family, Powell Family Farms, Barker Farms, Middle TN Mule Skinners Assoc, Cannon County Soil Conservation District, and many others.

For more information, please contact the U.T. Cannon County Extension Office at 563-2554 or Cannon County Farm Bureau at 563-4123.

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