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Farmers Federation plans virtual agriculture field trips

Although the stay-at-home order is keeping students homebound during the learning process, the Alabama Farmers Federation is giving children a chance to explore agriculture in Alabama from the comfort of their own homes.

The Alabama Farmers Federation is going to be hosting a virtual field trip every Friday at 10 a.m. through May 22 on Facebook Live.

“Parents and children are making huge adjustments as their homes become classrooms, and we want to help by offering entertaining and educational field trips from some of our farmers,” said Alabama Farmers Federation communications department director Jeff Helms. “While these videos will target third- through fifth-graders, people of all ages will learn more about how farmers grow food, fiber and timber.”

Each virtual tour will also include educational activities involving the sector of agriculture featured in the video. Viewers are encouraged to ask questions in the comments section of the video.

Franklin County farmer Gannon Nunley said the videos will feature different areas of agriculture from farmers all across the state.

“We say this all of the time, but we are so far from the farm nowadays,” Nunley said. “With a lot of elementary students, and even some middle school and possibly high school students, if you ask them where their food comes from, they will say the grocery store.”

Nunley said doing virtual field trips allows the industry to be seen by more students to create more involvement in agriculture.

“This will be seen by kids all across the state, and although I do not think there is anything like doing a hands-on tour, it is just not feasible to have that many students try to do that,” Nunley said.

Another benefit of the virtual tours, Nunley added, is safety for young students and being able to ensure nothing on the tour scares children.

“I own a poultry farm, and there were some kids touring that wanted to see the chickens,” Nunley said. “I don’t think they were ready for exactly how many chickens there are in that area, and to some kids, that can be a bit frightening.”

Nunley said he hopes exposing children to different areas of agriculture in the state will help build the industry’s future.

“Most farmers are getting older, and family members are just not returning to the farms the way they used to,” Nunley said. “We need people to help fill those jobs.”

Virtual field trips will include a variety of topics in Alabama agriculture. The schedule, subject to change, is as follows:

  • April 10 – Fruits and vegetables
  • April 17 – Beef cattle
  • April 24 – Honeybees
  • May 1 – Catfish
  • May 8 – Greenhouse and nursery products
  • May 15 – Forestry
  • May 22 – Cotton and other row crops

As for Nunley, he said the topic he looks forward to the most is a tour of a beef cattle facility because that is one of his biggest interests.

For updates on virtual field trips from the Alabama Farmers Federation, follow the Facebook page and mark “interested” on the virtual events.