Under sunny skies with near perfect autumn temperatures, fifth graders from Neosho headed for the district's school farm on Thursday for the annual Food For America Event.

Under sunny skies with near perfect autumn temperatures, fifth graders from Neosho headed for the district's school farm on Thursday for the annual Food For America Event.
Each of more than thirty stations at the farm featured Future Farmer of America (FFA) agriculture students displaying different aspects of agriculture.
"The best part is that they (students) get to showcase their projects, show what they do in the program," Kelon Kruse, Neosho agriculture instructor said. "The thing that they're teaching, it's the thing that they are passionate about. They do a great job teaching the kids!"
The 15 stations were spread across the acres at the school farm, which is located on School Farm Road just off HH Highway southeast of Neosho on School Farm Road. Stations included poultry, pigs, welding, goats, hay, veterinary information, sheep, Missouri Agriculture, horses, roping, dairy cattle, meat, milk and dairy products including ice cream, beef cattle, rabbits, greenhouse plants, forest productions, soils, horse shoeing, precision agriculture, soybeans and corn, forestry, honey, fishing, hunting,  butter, trapping, soil erosion, ag careers and ag olympics.
High school students manned each station and presented information to students at each stop. Other students also served as leaders to assist in guiding groups of fifth graders from one station to the next.
Fifth grader Justin Olson said, "I like the animals. I like the fresh air and stuff."
Another fifth grade student, Jeremiah Etheridge said he enjoys the various livestock. "I like the sheep, the cows, and the horses," he stated.
Number 4 station featured goats. A pair of Elizabeths - Elizabeth Rose and Elizabeth Gannan - provided detailed information about goats. Rose had two of her goats in a pen, a buck named Jim Bob and a pygmy goat named Nibbles.  "I've had Nibbles for 11 years," Rose told the students. "I show Nibbles in shows all over the place."
Rose will show Nibbles in six upcoming shows. She has manned the same station for the past two years and brought back the same sign she used last year to use Thursday. Students choose which station they want so that they can speak about a familiar agriculture experience.
Rose cited facts about goats, informing the students that there are 210 different kinds of goats.
A highlight of the goat station was that students had the opportunity to try milking a goat, although they tried they hand with a simulated goat made from wood with teats fashioned from a rubber glove. Water, not milk, came forth for those who tried their hand at milking. Some students, however, were disappointed they weren't able to taste goat milk.
At the sheep station, one fifth grader asked the ag students where the word 'sheep' came from but no one had an answer except fifth grader Matt Lauderdale who said, "Sheep are sheep because they are sheep. Sheep are fun. I like farm animals!'
At the pig station, a 362 pound boar named 'Hoss' provided a visual aid as FFA member Kyle Van Dorn asked students what kinds of meat a pig provides. "Bacon, ham, sausage, pork chops," students chorused in reply. Van Dorn also listed some of the non-meat items pigs provide including china, pork rinds (which come from the skin), medications including oxycontin, pepsin, and insulin, matches, and water filters.
"If you have someone in your family who has had heart valve replacement surgery," Van Dorn told the fifth graders. "They probably got the replacement from a pig."
Other students at the pig station included Spencer Garrett and Tyler Sarratt.
Hoss, the pig on display, is a cross-bred boar. Students had the opportunity to pet Hoss with supervision. "I got to pet a pig! I'm so happy," one student cried.
Gavin Colson and Nathan Morris explained welding techniques to students at the welding station and listed the three types of welding as arc, mig, and tig.
Number 13 proved to be one of the most popular stations and featured milk along with products made from milk. Among other things, the three grades of milk were listed, Grade A as drinkable, Grade B as usable and Grade C as not usable.
Students left the milk station with smiling faces because each received an ice cream sandwich bar, demonstrating that ice cream is made from milk and other ingredients.
Two week old baby chicks were also a hit with the fifth grade students who had the opportunity to hold a chick at the poultry station.
Students enjoyed the day long event, beginning around 9 a.m.  Lunch was served and students headed back to school at 2:30 p.m.
Feed America provides a learning experience for fifth graders. "They're able to learn about agriculture and natural resources," Kruse said. "It's an introduction (for them) to what makes up agriculture, that it's more than just cows and pigs. They learn about some of the ag products, about hunting and fishing,t trapping and forestry. This helps to open their eyes a little bit toward what all ag encompasses."
Sponsors for the event who donated time, supplies, and funds include First Community Bank, Loveland Law Office, Legacy Farm and Lawn, S & H Farm Supply, The Brockman Family, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Food For America is a nationwide program that focuses on agriculture literary. It assists FFA members with leadership skill development as they reach out to to their youth peers and their community by sharing the world of agriculture.