Third-grade students from all over the county learned on Thursday where their food comes from and its nutritional value during FARM2U Day at the Merced County Fairgrounds.
It was the fifth FARM2U event, hosted by the Merced County Farm Bureau, where more than 70 presenters taught the 3,500 students about their agriculture products.
“FARM2U gives us in agriculture hope that the community will realize what they have at their back door,” said Breanne Ramos, executive director of the farm bureau.
Each class saw different things as groups rotated through presentations, which included rice farmers, alpaca farmers, beekeepers, dairymen and local Future Farmers of America students.
For instance, Tom Roduner, a Merced County rice farmer, explained how rice is harvested and then used to create various products such as white rice, rice noodles, rice milk and rice vinegar.
“Most California rice farmers grow medium-grained rice,” he told a group from Chenoweth Elementary. “That’s the kind of rice used in Asian restaurants. It has a sticky texture and is easy to eat with chopsticks.”
Roduner explained that brown rice has more nutritional value than white rice and all rice is gluten free.
Amanda Wade, Ariella Sotelo, Grace Patterson and Kaylin Gonzalez, who were seniors in El Capitan’s FFA program, taught the students about dairy cows, a cow’s digestive system and anatomy, such as udders and teats.
Then the students tried their hands on a mechanical cow that spewed out recycled water, prompting shrieks of laughter and comments like “that felt weird.”
Morgan Lindsey, a 9-year-old at McSwain Elementary, said milking the stand-in cow was a lot easier than milking a real one. “I expected it to be harder,” she said.
She also had a chance to milk a goat, something new for her.
Said Ramos: “We’re teaching third-graders why we do what we do in ag.”
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477