Morris students bring the farm to the city

7:50 AM, Jun 4, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Kids crowd around a livestock pen as Morris Area High School senior Matt Huot whips out a milk jug. 

"How many of you guys have ever seen anything that looks like this?" asks Huot. 

Hands fly into the air.

Next question, not so easy for these students at Andersen United Community School in Minneapolis. 

"Do you know what this is called down here?"  Huot points to the udders on a very patient dairy cow.

Huot is part of his school's FFA team, Future Farmers of America, and they are taking over Andersen for a day to teach students where their food comes from.

"We teach them lessons in the classroom about livestock.  We show them a video from home," explains Ag teacher Matasha Mortenson. "For them to see the milk coming out of the udder of a cow and knowing that's what they're drinking, or eating yogurt or ice cream.  To see that and make that connection is so important to agriculture."

It's part of Minnesota Ag in the Classroom and it's backed by the state, major players in the agriculture industry as well as agriculture producers.

Morris students put six months into the planning process that resulted in not only classroom lessons but also trucking in livestock to the school grounds and barbeque lunch.

Junior Brooke Wente took the lead on much of the planning for students.  "We worked with Minnesota Ag in the Classroom in developing a booklet to hand out to the kids and we also coordinated the livestock here and worked with the Cattleman's so they could serve burgers to all of the students."

Those connections could serve Wente well if she considers a career in agriculture.   Mortenson says that's a path many of her students are taking.

"Agronomy, I have students going into ag business, and ag sales, ag economics is huge," said Mortenson.  "There are a lot of job opportunities."

Huot is considering a career in education which is one reason he's been looking forward to teaching kids at Andersen.  "I really enjoy this.  I think us as the teachers end up learning more than the kids do," he said.

Students from other school districts in farming communities were also helping out with an eye on more involvement in the future.

"We're just kind of coming here to see what it's all about to see if we want to do it next year," said Dalton Kampsen, a sophomore at New London-Spicer.

Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture would like to see this kind of outreach grow.  The state has other resources for schools as well at Minnesota Ag in the Classroom.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. all rights reserved.)

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