Cousins take Reed City first-graders to visit their farm
OSCEOLA COUNTY — Cousins Tiffany Todd and Austin Woods, grandkids of Dale and Wava Woods, invited 120 of their first grade classmates at Norman Elementary School to their family farm, Moon-Lit Woods Dairy south of Reed City on June 7th. This is the fourth year the Woods family — Dale, Wava, John and Cathy Woods and Mark and Sharon Todd — hosted the event.
When the buses arrived at the farm, a tractor and hay wagon was waiting to take students from one farm to the other.
You could tell by the smiles on their faces that the kids enjoyed the wagon ride. One first grader, James, brought his Dad along for the field trip and they sat together on the straw bales.
“The farm tour is a chance to expose students to agriculture,” said Janet Schmidt, Osceola County Farm Bureau newsletter editor.
“The Woods family did a great job explaining to students where their food comes from. Most of the first grade students had never been to a farm and had little knowledge of it. Every station had ag facts that the kids could easily relate to.”
Students learned that all of the animals on the farm eat some type of corn.
Sharon (Woods) Todd showed the kids how to feed and care for baby calves housed in calf hutches. Several kids got to feed the calves milk and grain. Each heifer calf is ear-tagged so they can trace their heritage. Kids found out that a new baby calf is up walking within an hour of being born.
John and Cathy Woods took the kids into the dairy barn so they could see cows being milked. Their daughter, fourth-grader Kaitlin Woods, was busy cleaning the utter of a cow ready to be milked.
John said each cow has its own personality and he showed the students the different breeds of cows on the farm. Their cows are milked twice each day; this is 7 days a week job, 365 days a year.
Cathy Woods works for a local veterinarian. She explained how important it is to keep cows healthy. She showed them a variety of items used to check the health of animals on their farm. She also talked about the types of feed and nutrients cows need to produce milk.
Wava Woods and her grandson Eric Todd showed the kids the chickens and pigs on their farm. Eric, his brother David, sister Tiffany and cousins Kaitlin and Austin Woods are each taking a pig to the Osceola County Fair for their market hog projects. Students also got to see some baby chicks.
Wava Woods showed the students the Isa Red laying hens they have on their farm. It takes about 24 hours for a chicken to produce an egg. A chicken will lay about 23 dozen eggs a year.
Grandpa Gary Todd showed the students their maple syrup operation. Native Americans discovered the sweet taste of sap from the maple tree and began boiling it.
Students got to see how a maple tree is tapped, a spile inserted into a tree and a bucket hung to collect the sap. It takes 40-50 gallon of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup and kids were given a sample to taste.
Dean and Amy Smallegan from Ina Store demonstrated the different types of equipment needed to till, plant and harvest crops.
Dean had corn, soybean, oats, wheat and alfalfa seeds for kids to see. He talked about farming years ago and how things have changed. Some tractors have computers in them that operate the equipment.
Jacob Stieg, 4-H program coordinator, spoke about the different 4-H programs offered in Osceola County and explained all the work involved for their day on the farm.
Cow hats and the cost of busing the children to the farm were donated by the Osceola County Farm Bureau. Students received lots of goodies donated from the ag industry. Several area businesses donated to the event.
Thank you Woods Family for hosting the first graders at your farm.