September 24, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald
class of students outside posing for picture

Each class received a group picture to take home, along with follow-up lessons.

Barbara Marsh believes her family has been blessed by owning their 400-acre farm in Boyd County. She and her family have looked for ways to share the blessing with others, so she jumped at the chance to have school children spend a day there to learn about agriculture. 

“I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I was always around them and I know the hard work that goes into it,” she said. “This day lets us share that with kids who may never get another chance to see it. You can’t take this into the classroom and you can’t get it from a book.”

This was the second year the Boyd County 4-H program has hosted the farm day at the Marsh Farm. It provided 925 fourth-graders and fifth-graders the opportunity to see live farm animals up close such as horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, a donkey and even an emu. Students also listened to farmers and agriculture professionals talk about livestock, farm equipment and forestry.

The Marshes daughters Deborah, 10, and Lora, 18, are very involved with the activities on the farm and see the 4-H farm day as a way to pass on some of their knowledge. Lora is a freshman at Ashland Community College and also the vice president of the 4-H Teen Council.

“I think this is a good experience for them to see what happens on a farm and see the animals and farm equipment,” she said. “Each year is different; it’s a learning experience.” 

Deborah attended the farm day as part of her fifth-grade class and said it was “cool” to have her classmates on her farm.

“They will learn how to respect animals,“ she said. “They also get to learn about trees and how things grow.”

Boyd County Cooperative Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development Roxane Gross was excited to see even more children participate than last year. She said there were children from city, urban, rural and home school present.

Agricultural professionals explained the importance of farm equipment to students.

“I hope they learn to appreciate agriculture and what it means to our society,” she said. “Many children have never been on a farm or around farm animals, so it’s a great experience for them and for teachers.”

All teachers receive a class portrait from their day on the farm. They also receive curriculum and follow-up activities from 4-H so that students can continue to learn about agriculture in the classroom.

The day ended with an ATV safety demonstration by Dale Dobson from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Dobson staged an accident to show students the dangers of riding without a helmet and not informing parents of their whereabouts. 

Barbara Marsh emphasized that even after seven years of farm ownership, her family is still learning about agriculture. Her husband Dexter is renovating the old farmhouse that came with the place. They grow some tobacco and a little hay right now, but plan to do more in the future when they fully move onto the farm when the house is completed.

“It’s a learning process,” she said. “Not just for the kids, but for adults too.”


Writer: Aimee D. Heald 859-257-4736, ext. 267
Contact: Roxane Gross 606-739-5184