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FFA brings farm to school

February 25, 2006|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG -

There was a brown Swiss dairy steer named Pete, and chickens named Pat, Dawn and Fred. The three piglets had no names.

"I don't want to get attached to them," said Tim Martin, 15, explaining why he didn't name the baby pigs.

He said the piglets, about a month old, eventually would be sold.

Tim, a sophomore at Smithsburg High School, brought the piglets to the high school to participate in a petting zoo, which was part of the school's celebration of National Future Farmers of America week.

Smithsburg's FFA club held the event for prekindergarten, first- and second-grade students from Smithsburg Elementary School.

The students also were read a John Deere story, made pine cone bird feeders and milked a fake cow.

Cody Pine, high school agriculture teacher and FFA adviser, said the purpose of the event was to teach children about agriculture and farming.

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"We wanted to put something together to have young kids know what they do," Pine said.

The high school's FFA club has 27 members.

"And I'm proud to say they're all active," he said.

Tim said he thought he thought the elementary students enjoyed seeing the animals.

"I know they like petting the pigs," he said.

The piglets spent most of the time under a heat lamp, but squealed loudly when he picked them up to show the children.

The petting zoo also included sheep, pygmy goats, Labrador retriever puppies, horses and a peacock.

Jessica Lewis, 16, sat holding a chicken on her lap.

"Would you like to pet my chicken?" she asked as the elementary school children gathered around.

Usually, the students took her up on her offer.

"They like them, and they're amazed by how shiny and silky their feathers are," Jessica, a junior, said.

Two other chickens were in a cage beside her.

Jessica said one chicken, Dawn, was named after her mother, and another chicken, Pat, was named after its former owner. She named the third chicken Fred, because "I just liked the name," she said.

Jessica said chickens weren't difficult to care for, but that they required clean water.

"They are friendly, but some of them can be mean, but these guys are the friendliest," she said.

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