Ask any group of second graders to name the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and they'll rattle off their names as if the characters were their own brothers and sisters.
But ask them the origin of the beef patty in their Happy Meal and many are stumped for an answer."Most of these kids, even though agriculture is going on all around them, most of them never see it," said Mark Nelson, Utah State University extension agent for Salt Lake County. "Even though we're here in the West, it's surprising how urban they are. Some of them don't know the difference between a sheep and a calf."
On Wednesday, 1,100 second- and third-grade students from the Granite School District converged on Bateman Dairy Farm for "Ag in the Classroom" Field Day, where they learned not only where beef comes from but that beef byproducts are used to produce products ranging from cosmetics to pencil erasers.
The field day enabled children to pet tiny calves and lambs, watch chicks peck their way out of their eggshells and learn the importance of conserving the land and water.
They watched as wool was spun into yarn and wheat was ground into flour. And when it was all done, they were treated to tiny loaves of bread, ice cream bars and samples of grilled sirloin steak.Nelson said the field day helps children learn first-hand where their food comes from.
Michael Kimble, third-grader at Jim Bridger Elementary School, said he learned that cattle byproducts are used in the production of combs. "And they get their ears pierced," Kimble said, referring to the identification tags in their ears.
Fox Hill Elementary School second-grader Michelle Waggoner was intrigued by the chicks hatching from eggs in an incubator. "I learned how chicks grow. I didn't know that before," she said.
The sixth-annual field day was sponsored by the Utah Dairy Council, the Utah's Cattlemen's Association, 4-H, the West Jordan and Bingham High School Future Farmers of America chapters, Soil Conservation Service, USU Extension Service, Utah Wool Growers and Utah Spinners.