HANFORD — You know you’re doing something right when you hear a child say they wished they could learn more.
That was the sentiment overheard Thursday — wishing the day would last longer — from students leaving the Kings Fairgrounds after Farm Day.
Around 2,400 third-graders from all over Kings County took a field trip to this year’s Farm Day, which is a collaborative effort between the Kings County Farm Bureau, the Kings County Office of Education and the Kings Fair.
From tractors to bees and the dairy industry to the importance of water, there were almost 60 exhibits covering all things agriculture. That is what Farm Day is all about — teaching students the positive contributions farming and the ag industry make to the community.
Dusty Ference, executive director of the Kings County Farm Bureau, said Farm Day is the organization’s biggest program of the year. In its 15th year, the event's goal is to continue to bring exposure to an industry that not only drives the county, but the Central Valley as well.
Ference said the great thing about the event is that it doesn’t matter if the kids are growing up on farms or growing up in the city, they all have something to learn. He said his favorite part is seeing the students’ reactions at the exhibits.
“To watch kids experience something new and interesting is exciting and exhilarating,” he said.
Some new exhibits included a water well drilling rig and a station where students planted tomato plants to take home and transplant in their own yards.
The Kings County Office of Education made sure every third grader in the county was invited, including those in home school. Every class was able to visit at least six exhibits, including at least one animal exhibit. Most of the exhibits were science-based, interactive and hands-on.
“All of the exhibits are amazing and they’re all about our community,” said Margie Newton, program director of Career Education at Kings County Office of Education.
Newton said the day would not be possible without the help and support from many people in the community, including over 100 student volunteers from 4-H and FFA, and presenters who took time out of their work days to talk to the children.
“Everybody is amazing and knowledgeable,” Newton said. “They’re doing their little part for Farm Day.”
Todd Barlow, Kings County Office of Education superintendent, said farmers have always been committed and invested in making sure the products they raise are able to provide for the community and the nation.
“Nobody gives back more to their community or to their planet than farmers do,” Barlow said.
While he said it’s important to begin this kind of education to students at a young age, it’s never too late to learn.
“I go around and even I learn quite a bit,” Barlow said laughing.