Fourth-graders take part in ‘Agriculture Field Day’
BAKERSVILLE – To teach the importance of agriculture, the Mitchell County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension allowed fourth graders from Gouge Elementary to get hands experience this past Thursday during the annual Agriculture Field Day at Harrell Hill Farms.
Students rotated through different stations that gave them firsthand looks at making molasses, local foods, such as apples and pumpkins, farm equipment safety, maintaining soil health and uses of livestock.
Doug Harrell, the owner of the farm, said holding the field day at his farm is a blessing. He has hosted students each school year for about 10 years. The farm has been in Harrell’s family since 1796.
“We have been part of the community for a long time,” Harrell said. “I have a strong love for children and agriculture.”
Harrell said the event is important because it gives students the valuable information they might not be exposed to in the classroom.
“It’s a way to keep them connected to agriculture and the things that feed us,” Harrell said. “That’s where we come from with it. We have been blessed to be able to do it and we’ll continue as long as we’re able.”
Agriculture food, fiber and forestry remains North Carolina’s No. 1 industry, providing more than $84 billion annually towards the state’s economy and employment for 17 percent of North Carolina’s workforce.
“Youth were able to see that even though less than 2 percent of our population are farmers, agriculture is a big and very important part of all our lives,” said Jeff Vance, director of the Mitchell County Center of NC Cooperative Extension.