Students gather at Farm Camp to learn about ag industry, commodities | News

Students spent a day on the farm learning about food and where it both comes from and how it’s produced.

Farm Camp returned Monday to Waseca for its sixth year at Farmamerica. The camp is sponsored by area farmers and agribusiness representatives who want to share what they do for youth in grades three through six.

The camps are held at different locations, educating roughly 600 kids in four days of camps across southern Minnesota, the Twin Cities area, northern Iowa, Wisconsin, St. Cloud and Brainerd.

Mark Scharf, member of the Farm Camp Committee and board, says that the goal is to teach youth about agriculture and the opportunities that are available in the industry.

“We’re providing them with a safe, abundant food source, and a lot of things are grown here in southern Minnesota,” he said of what he hoped kids walked away with from the farm day.

“We also want them to be excited about modern agriculture and the opportunities that it can give us.”

Attendees moved between stations that included information on key commodities. They learned about poultry from turkey farmers, walked through corn and soybean fields and saw beef and dairy calves. Kids also had the opportunity to ride in a tractor, while North Memorial had an ambulance onsite so kids could learn more about the ambulance service.

There was also a demonstration that showed students how drones are used in modern farming.

New this year was an end-of-day review by the Twin Cities Road Crew, during which kids danced, played games related to commodity groups they had learned about that day and answered questions for prizes. Students were split into two teams and participated in activities that had them searching for ag terms they had learned about in a word find or determining which products they were given were made from soybean or corn.

An important takeaway, Scharf said, is that not everyone needs to be a farmer to further their ag education, as there are many career opportunities available within the industry.

“There are a lot of options for them,” he said. “We need electricians, carpenters, truck drivers … We’re dependent on the basics to be able to raise the food that we need. There’s only going to be a handful of these 140 kids today that are actually going to be farmers, but when it comes down to it, farmers are relying on agribusinesses to help them be successful.”

Reporter Jacob Stark can be reached at 837-5451 or follow him on Twitter @WCNjacob.

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