WASECA — Just because kids live amid the rich agricultural land that is southern Minnesota, that does not mean they know anything about farming, said Janesville farmer Kathy Guse.
“I was talking to a little boy about soybeans,” Guse said. “I said, ‘Do you know what soybeans are?’ He said, ‘no.’”
Months ago Guse was chatting with Jim Gibson, executive director of Farmamerica, about this very subject. She thought Farmamerica could use a more contemporary component to its educational activities related to agriculture.
“I said, ‘You need to be teaching people about modern agriculture. You should have a farm camp for kids. Tell them where their food comes from,’” Guse said.
Gibson thought the idea was fantastic, and he assigned Guse the task of organizing the event and putting it on. The result is the first “Farm Camp Minnesota” for youth, to be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13 at Farmamerica. Registration is open until Aug. 1.
Guse said the camp will be put on by southern Minnesota farmers, giving kids in grades 3-6 a true picture of modern-day farming practices. Campers will learn how food is grown and how farm commodities are used, among other things.
“This is an important thing,” she said. “We need to be educating people about where their food does come from.”
The kids will rotate among a variety of stations devoted to pigs, dairy and beef, poultry, turkeys and chickens, corn, soybeans and farm equipment. Live animals will be on site and every child will get a tractor ride, Guse said.
“They’re going to meet a farmer, and they’re going to hear from a farmer what he (or she) actually does,” she said.
Volunteers from several organizations and local agri-businesses will be available to talk with participants in small group breakouts.
The cost is $10 per camper upon registration. To encourage participation, the fee will be returned when the kids arrive at camp.
Lunch and snacks will be provided and every camper will receive a free T-shirt and goodie bag.