(Le Mars) — Third grade elementary students from Le Mars Community, Gehlen Catholic, Remsen St. Mary’s and MMCRU (Remsen-Union) had the opportunity to visit four different farms Thursday morning. The annual event is sponsored by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee. The purpose
for the tour is to introduce students to agriculture, and to inform them about how their food begins from a farm instead of a grocery store. More than 250 students visited a dairy farm operation, a family beef farm, a pork production farm, and a sheep farm. Dan Sheehan of rural Remsen was one of
the farmers to open his hog operation to the visiting students. He says he jumped at the opportunity when it was presented to him. Sheehan hopes the information he shared today with the students will stay with them through their adult lives.
The Remsen pork producer told the students, the pigs they saw today that weigh approximately 15 pounds, will weigh around 300 pounds within six months when they are ready to be transported to market. Sheehan shared with the students the various types of ingredients found in the feed he gives to his
Many of the students were overwhelmed when Sheehan said he has over 2000 head of hogs in one facility. Sheehan emphasized to the students how he maintains a constant and comfortable environment for his pigs.
At each of the four farms, the farmers informed the students about the various types of by-products that are derived from the animals. At Plymouth Dairy, Scott Thoms told the students the average cow will contribute 10 gallons of milk each day, and that equates to more than 15 cartons of ice cream on a daily basis. Shirley Schroeder told the youngsters that each market beef animal from her family farm has enough meat muscle to produce
approximately 750 quarter pound hamburgers. At the Mark Loutsch farm, students witnessed a lamb being sheared, and learned that sheep are marketed for their wool, as well as for their meat.
Katie Pick teaches third grade at Clark Elementary school in Le Mars. This year marked her first time as a teacher on the farm tour. She says her students enjoyed the day. Pick says the tour is important for the students.
Pick says each of the students were impressed with the farm tour, and says they especially enjoyed seeing the animals.
Pick says she is grateful for the host farmers and for the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee for featuring the tour. She says if the the Chamber Agriculture Committee did not offer the program, many of her students would never have the opportunity to visit a farm.