Youngsters get hands-on cattle farming experience
Posted August 14, 2008 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2008 5:55 p.m. EDT
Louisburg, N.C. — A pack of fledging farmers in Franklin County is learning the cattle-raising trade from those who know it best as part of educational program about agriculture.
"I show cows, and I like it,” Samuel Lewis declared.
The bond between the children and the cows is easy to see when you visit Freedom Farms of Louisburg. Several dozen children care for and train Dexter cows – which are about half the size of normal bovines – as part of Sally Coad's farm show program.
“I like their character and how they have their own voices and personality,” 11-year-old Joey Moore said.
Coad said the impetus for the program began when she visited third-graders on an animal agriculture day.
“I was shocked and honestly appalled that these children didn't even know what a cow looked like,” the farmer said.
So, Coad decided to take a more hands-on approach and opened her farm at 17 Lloyds Way to the youngsters.
“It teaches them just so much beyond sitting in front of a computer screen or a TV,” Coad said.
Coad gets help from other farmers, like Carvel Cheves who operates the Clover C Farm in Bunn, in teaching the children about cattle raising.
“We've almost lost a generation that does not know the connection between agriculture and what they eat every night,” Cheves said.
However, learning is only half the fun. The children also get to show the cattle in competitions from the Dixie Classic in Winston-Salem to the N.C. State Fair.
“I love the competition. I won't lie. I love the competition of the whole thing,” 17-year-old Lindsey Edwards said.
“I love it. The children love it and I love watching them,” parent Heather Handel said.
The Franklin County Cooperative Extension Program and the local 4-H Club also help recruit children to join local youth and livestock programs..
Earlier this week, the young farmers got some national exposure when they were featured in a Wall Street Journal article.