by Allie Doise, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation
Students are expected to learn something new each day at school, and at the Vernon Parish Field Day, they got a handful.
Pickering High School students attended the third annual field day, organized by the Vernon Parish Cattlemen’s Association and the Vernon Parish School Board, for some hands-on experience. Phillip Murray, a sophomore at Pickering High, said this field day was a chance to see how everything connects back to agriculture in some way.
“Ag is used in everything you do, your clothes, your food, your electricity, your water, gas,” Murray said. “Everything revolves around agriculture.”
The purpose of the event is to educate students on the agricultural industry. However, Murray’s teacher, Preston Broxson said these hands-on lessons are vital to the future of farming in his community.
“We really promote youth involvement in the community because most of our producers are 55 years and older now and we have no one coming up to replace them,” Broxson said. “So this is the best way that we can see to make sure that someone is coming up to fill the shoes.”
Rusty Bailes, Vernon Parish Cattlemen’s Association member and Louisiana Farm Bureau state board member, said many of the kids want to be involved with animal agriculture when they graduate. He believes the lesson to be learned is that it starts from the ground up.
“A lot of them don't understand that we're really not beef farmers,” Bailes said. “We're grass farmers. We grow the grass to raise our beef.”
Bailes said there are universal lessons to take home even for those who don’t want to work outside agriculture.
“It's kind of like on a farm or a ranch, you never wake up any day and say, I don't have anything to do today,” Bailes said. “There's always something and you end up with a priority system. I want these young kids to walk away understanding there's a lot that goes into this.”
Bailes said farmers love the land they work on and the field day was a great way to show it.
“We like to be good stewards,” Bailes said. “We like to take care of our cattle. You can ask any of our wives--many of us have left the dinner table to go take care of a sick calf or a sick cow. That's the kind of feeling we want them to have, this kind of environment that we live in.”
Bailes said he hopes this event is able to grow to include student outside of Vernon Parish because he believes this is something every child can benefit from.