October 7, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson

As the buses rolled down the drive to Evan's Orchard in Scott County, school children aboard eagerly waited to step off the bus and into a day of fun on the farm. 

Students enter a corn maze after learning about products made from corn.

Some of these students had never been to a farm and that's the group Fayette County Cooperative Extension agents were targeting.

"Some of them are a generation or maybe two generations away from the farm and they don't have that opportunity to be out at places like this anymore," said Kevan Evans, owner of Evan's Orchard. "We always look forward to giving them that opportunity and keeping them exposed as much as possible [to agriculture]."

Approximately 90 students from Lexington's Dixie and Rosa Parks Elementary schools spent the day learning about corn and its byproducts before making their way through a confusing corn maze. From there they learned to milk Kentucky Kate, a life-size dairy cow replica, and make ice cream by shaking the ingredients together in plastic bags. Students also sampled goat cheese and got to pet a dairy goat while learning about the goat industry.

Fayette County 4-H Youth Development Agent Kelly Yates helped plan the day's activities and said that the main goal was to teach students how important agriculture is in their daily lives.

"It's important because agriculture is changing, and we want kids to know where agriculture started and where it is going, and we want them to know where their food comes from," she said. "A lot of these kids think their food comes from the grocery store. We feel like it is important for them to know it comes from a producer and that they know what a farm is."

Students got to make their own ice cream in zip loc bags.

The Kentucky Farm Bureau has always been a big supporter of educational activities where children can learn about the importance of agriculture. This year, they partnered with University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service for the day at Evan's Orchard.

"That is one of our major roles [education], and that's one of the reasons we work with Kelly and our Extension Service and try to implement as many programs as we can to the different kids to get that voice out there," said Carrie Johnson of the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

To finish their farm fun, students were led on a tour of the Evan's Orchard Cider Mill and storage facilities. They sampled freshly pressed apple cider and even watched baker's making fresh fried apple pies. Most of the children agreed that the day was fun and that they learned something new about agriculture.

"It's fun, they have cool stuff, the animals are neat," said Kirby Fitzpatrick, third-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary. "I learned how to make ice cream and I learned there are a lot of products made with corn -- like cokes and stuff."


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Source: Kelly Yates 859-257-5582