The farm comes inside at school presentation

ZEPHYR COVE -- Asked what the funniest question was during his presentation on being a cowboy, Nick Uhart said a student wondered where his six-shooter was.

Lorraine Vogel was asked why her Alpine goats have antlers.

Vogel, Uhart and others brought their animals and farming knowledge to Zephyr Cove Elementary School's "Agriculture in the Classroom" day.

Students were outside most of the day, learning such things like Gummi Bears come from cows, plants are hit with a tennis racket for seeds to fall, and horses can be steered like cars, if directed properly.

The ranchers belong to the Douglas County Farm Bureau. They came from Carson Valley and usually visit Douglas County schools. But scheduling conflicts and knowing the group hasn't been to Zephyr Cove in years brought the presentation to Lake Tahoe.

"A lot of kids driving by in the valley see the animals, but kids up here probably don't get that opportunity," Valree Hellwinkel said near dairy cows. "So we figured they need to learn where their food supply comes from."

There beef and dairy cows, a horse, two sheep, three goats, sunflowers, hay and a tractor on the elementary school's campus on Warrior Way/

Students were told American farmers are the world's most productive. Farmers, a dying breed in the United States comprised of less than 2 percent of the population, feeds more than 98 percent of the nation.

Each U.S. farmer produces food and fiber for 129 people: 101 Americans, 28 foreigners.

The importance of the day was that each animal had a purpose, even goats, which can be milked.

"We never get to see animals, and it was fun because I never got to milk a goat before," said Skylar Reyes, a third-grader. "It felt gross."

Hellwinkel told children that feed for dairy cows contains no pesticides to keep products safe. Children put their hands in the buckets of cotton seed, rolled corn and barn mix.

Fifth-grader Chris Ranalla said he learned more during Agriculture in the Classroom than he does in a normal day of school.

"I like the tractor," he said. "It does a lot more things than horses because the tractor have engines, and the horses don't have engines."

Chris had an idea what would be the first thing he would say to his parents after school.

"I'm going to say 'Mom, I learned about farming.' Then she's probably going to say 'Wow, you can do that for your report.'"


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