Livestock, plants and tractors took center stage Friday on Farm Day at Smithsburg High School.
Some members of the school’s Future Farmers of America even showed up on tractors as part of Drive Your Tractor to School Day, which was tied to the annual event.
“If you have a tractor at home or somewhere that you want to drive to school, you can just hop on it and drive it to school,” Smithsburg High school FFA President Hannah Cooper of Smithsburg said.
Cooper, a 17-year-old junior, said that setting up for Farm Day required a lot of preparation, but it was worth it.
“We’ve been looking forward to it because we’ve put so much work into it,” she said. “Most of these younger kids don’t get to see this stuff because Smithsburg is so developed. It’s not all farmland anymore.”
Pigs, chickens and even a duck were among the animals on display.
Smithsburg Elementary School students also took time out of their school day to join in the event. The students watched a videotape about farming, had a crafts session, took home a plant and seeds to grow, got to sit in a tractor and checked out the animals.
“I like how the flowers were different colors,” said second-grader Cassie Pryor, 8. “It was fun to go see everything that was here because we got to pet the animals.”
“I never knew they had a greenhouse here,” said second-grader Liam Abbott, 8, of Smithsburg. “We need to take care of the Earth and learn about the plants.”
“It’s really important for kids to be able to see different aspects of community helpers and being involved,” said Nicole Hart, a second-grade teacher at Smithsburg Elementary. “This gives them an opportunity to look at different career possibilities for them in their future.”
Farm Day, which started in Smithsburg eight years ago, had about 250 students taking part in it this year, according to Cody Pine, a FFA adviser and Smithsburg High School agricultural teacher.
“The event educates the students on agriculture,” Pine said. “It includes what agriculture is, how their food is grown, and what it takes from beginning to end to eat something.”
The animals at the school belonged to the students. Help for other equipment came from Antietam Tractor, Misty Meadow Farm Creamery, and the Smithsburg FFA alumni, Pine said.
FFA Vice-President Darla Mullinix of Smithsburg, 17, a junior, also helped to organize the event.
“The kids get to learn about the animals, what age they are, and how to feed (them),” Mullinix said. “Bringing them over, they can see some of the fun things we do, and why they should join the FFA.”
The FFA is a national organization founded in 1928 to help people interested in agriculture learn about its importance and how it can relate to other fields, according to its website, www.ffa.org.
Cooper said that she has learned more about agriculture than she ever thought she would since joining the FFA.
“I’ve competed in food science competitions and Ag Mechanics,” she said. “I found out this is really fun.”
The school’s FFA chapter has 52 members this year, Pine said.