Students learn about life on the farm

Ag in the Classroom aims to teach area fourth graders about food production.

Holy Rosary fourth graders (from left) Marin Lorentz, Grant Skalin and Levi Lasecki were all smiles while petting a goat that was brought to the Ag in the Classroom program. The event was held at M State on Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES – While farmland is abundant in Becker County, area farmers are ensuring youth learn what it takes to bring food from the farm to the table.

Lauretta Kapphahn, Holy Rosary fourth grade teacher, brought her students to M State on Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16 to learn about agriculture. She said her students learned about many ag-related topics, including farm safety, food production, conservation and more.

“I’m thankful they took time to talk with students,” she said, noting not all of her students personally know someone working in agriculture.

Rossman Elementary fourth graders (from left) Lydia Borden, Alyssa Siriouthay and Kristi Freeman enjoy petting a fluffy rabbit at the Ag in the Classroom event on Wednesday, March 15.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Detroit Lakes High School junior Mikayla Engum was asked by her FFA teacher to bring goats for students to pet and learn about. She and her parents, Liz and Mike Engum, began raising goats and chickens after moving to a rural Detroit Lakes property a few years ago. As a presenter, Engum said she has “enjoyed showing the goats up close” and allowing “students to interact” with the animals.

The farm animals being showcased were in the school parking lot, along with farm machinery. Presentations covering machine and general farm safety, as well as different aspects of farming, were offered to students in classrooms.


Students in Lauretta Kapphahn's Holy Rosary fourth grade class listen to a presentation about machine safety.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Mary Ann Jorgenson and her husband Lowell organized the event. The two were on the ground floor of providing the Ag in the Classroom program when it started more than 30 years ago. The duo chatted with other farmers, and a conversation about how disconnected youth had become from agriculture was had. In the end, the group agreed that one solution would be providing an Ag in the Classroom program.

Ag in the Classroom is a volunteer-based effort to show area fourth graders what it takes to grow and harvest food. The program also works with ag-related corporations and students in school FFA programs.

Ethan Stuewe, a fourth grader at Holy Rosary, enjoys petting a lab during the Ag in the Classroom event on Wednesday, March 15.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

For this year’s program, farmers specializing in dairy, hogs, grains, beef, sheep, turkeys and more presented their trade. Tractors and animals were also brought in for the students to view.

Jorgenson said farmers are proud of what they do and are happy to share with the younger generations.

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