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Pa. students learn about farm life at annual farm event

September 11, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - A class of fourth-grade students from Cumberland Valley Christian School dug through a pile of corn silage with their hands looking for "things that don't belong." They came up with a Coke can, three plastic bottles and a wad of duct tape.

"When that stuff lands in the field, it ends up in the silo, and that's bad news," Lloyd Bier, feed representative with Cumberland Valley Co-op, told them. Trash shredded in with animal feed can sicken or kill a dairy cow.

Trash should be recycled or properly disposed of, Bier said.

The students, along with about 900 other fourth-graders from Franklin County, spent several hours at Arlo Farms in Shippensburg Friday. Another 900, scheduled to tour the farm Thursday, could not attend due to rainy and muddy conditions.

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For eight years, Franklin County Farm Bureau's Promotion and Education Committee has organized the educational day at local farms in conjunction with its annual Fall Farm Fun Fest, now in its 14th year.

A bell clanged every nine minutes for students to switch among the 14 stations where they learned about what animals need to grow, identifying the life processes of living things, integrated pest management and crops.

"What's inside these?" one girl asked, picking up a kernel of field corn.

Heather Slatoff, a teacher at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School, said that the milking parlor was her class' favorite stop. Several students put their fingers into the milker claw to feel the suction.

One of Slatoff's students, Stephen Ernharth, 9, said he liked the hay maze best, and that he learned "how they milk the cows with the suction cup things. I put it on my cheek and forehead and it felt weird."

Suzanne Hess from the same school brought her 23 students, and said she will tie in this experience with units of study throughout the school year.

Kristen Sheller, 9, said that what she liked the best was "the petting zoo. It had goats, puppies, sheep, ponies and chickens." She learned that cottonseed is used in cow feed.

Arlin and Lois Hege milk 240 cows at the 450-acre farm, and have about another 300 heifers and calves.

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