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Area students learn the way of the cow

How much does a typical elementary-age student in Becker County know about agriculture?

As it happens, they know quite a lot more this week than they did the week before.

This past Monday and Tuesday, students from Lake Park-Audubon and White Earth, as well as Holy Rosary, Rossman and Roosevelt schools in Detroit Lakes gathered at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes to participate in Ag in the Classroom activities organized by volunteers from the Becker County Farm Bureau, Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business Committee and Becker County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Event coordinator Mary Ann Jorgenson of Callaway said approximately 375 students participated in this year's event, which included mini-sessions on farm safety; beef cows, pigs, sheep and dairy cows; soils; maple syrup; potatoes and grains. The students also had an opportunity to view miniature farm machinery and live farm animals including sheep, goats, cows, calves, donkeys and even a horse or two.

In the farm safety class, instructor James Dodds demonstrated a 911 simulator, which allowed students to experience what a 911 call would sound like. Farm accident survivor Jeff Kratochwill of Bemidji, who lost an arm in a round baler accident, also talked about the importance of safety on the farm.

Students in the class on sheep were able to watch Kathey Skarie of Vergas spin real sheep's wool into thread, while in the dairy class, retired farmers Roger Engstrom and Norman Danielson along with active farmers Al Foltz and Kathy Jacobson gave the students a lesson in such useful facts as how many products can be made from cow's milk.

In order to produce an average of 2,000 gallons of milk per year, a dairy cow must consume about 90 pounds of food a day -- and about twice as much water. They must also be protected from both extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter, and must be milked twice a day to remain healthy.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454