School tours give kids an ag background

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Schoolchildren learn how food goes from farm to plate at the American Royal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Al Davis wasn’t sure what to think.

An elementary school teacher had just pointed to a farm animal and told her class it was a camel. The problem was, it was actually a Brahman bull.

Yes, Brahman bulls and camels have distinguishable humps in their backs that serve a similar purpose: To store food and water. But bulls and camels are not the same, and there are many characteristics of each that separates the two species. It was just further proof for Davis that the American Royal’s school tours were doing what was needed.

“When you stand in an exhibit and there’s a Brahman bull in the pen, and a teacher calls it a camel, then you know there’s a disconnect from what is being taught in school and what happens in the store,” said Davis, the American Royal’s manager of education. “That’s not a part of an elementary school teacher’s curriculum.

“That’s why it’s more and more important that people learn where the food comes from and what it takes to get it from the farm to the plate.”

The school tours are set for Sept. 25-28 during the American Royal’s Fall season. The program is built to educate students in the second to fourth grades. It consists of an educational tour and the Invitational Youth Rodeo; it will include the ADM World of Agriculture, the Mobile Dairy Classroom and other fun exhibits to help educate the youngsters. .

“Right now I’d argue that people are one generation or two generations removed from the farm, and somewhere we’ve lost the knowledge of where our food comes from,” Davis said. “That’s the goal with all of our education stuff. This is still the United States, and we still have the safest food products in the world.

“We have young kids that the only reference they have to the farm is the old See ’N Say toy, where they learn that cows moo and dogs bark. We want to educate them far beyond the propaganda they might see regarding the food industry.”

The 26-foot Mobile Dairy Classroom features milking parlors complete with a live cow. Children will learn about the importance of dairy products in a person’s diet as well as what it takes to get milk from the cow to their local store.

The Pizza Roundup connects the process and importance of production and agriculture to one of the world’s most popular foods. They will learn how pizza is made, what ingredients are used, where the ingredients came from, how the ingredients are made and how the ingredients are grown.
The petting zoo will allow youngsters a chance to interact with farm animals and see a wide range of exotic animals.

“It’s becoming more important to know where our food comes from, how it’s been processed and how it goes from farm to plate,” Davis said. “The kids will learn how the animals are cared for and how the environment is important. They are all issues everybody should care about.

“We just present the facts, and, of course, the kids are always excited about the petting zoo. For a lot of the kids, this is as close as they’re ever going to get to livestock.”


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