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Tea Fourth grade participates in Adopt-A-Farmer program

Tea Area fourth-graders heard from their adopted farmer last week.

At the beginning of the year, Tea Area fourth grade classrooms at the intermediate school and Frontier adopted Heidi Selken, herd manager for Boadwine Dairy by Baltic, through Agriculture United for South Dakota’s Adopt-A-Farmer program. The program has been going on for five years but this is the first year for Tea Area classrooms.

Since fourth-graders learn about South Dakota history, teacher Kristi Desaulniers thought it would be a good option for a farmer to talk to their classes.

“In grade four, South Dakota history is taught so the standards talk about the economy of South Dakota and job opportunities,” Desaulniers said. “I wanted to be connected not only because of the academic reason, but also helping children understand more about the Midwest and surrounding areas around Tea.”

Ag United has eight farmers visiting 19 schools throughout the state. The group started the program to educate students about modern agriculture.

“We are doing it because we really just want people to know what is happening on South Dakota farms and in fourth grade, students might not know a lot about what happens on the farm or where their food comes from,” said Rebecca Christman, Ag United for South Dakota outreach director. “We want them to better understand that and then also learn that a lot of their food comes from South Dakota.”

Selken made a video with her local FFA chapter about what goes on at her farm every month. Christman sends a link to those videos to the classroom teachers to share with their classes each month. Those videos are available on YouTube by searching “SD Adopt A Farmer.”

In her videos, Selken talks about cow care and where they live.

During her classroom visit last week, Selken fielded many questions from students and teachers about how many cows they have, their oldest cow, how many people work there, how much manure they get each day and if they have any cows that were not black and white. Selken enjoys the questions and especially the interest from the teachers.

“That’s what I love about the program is the excitement from the teacher. Even the classes that are in their fourth year, those teachers still have questions,” Selken said. “It’s great that they take an interest in it.”

Desaulniers said the students enjoy the videos and they form questions that connect with the standards like math and technology. They are also learning about the many careers found a dairy farm like veterinarians, geneticists, milkers and truck drivers.

While Desaulniers grew up on a farm, most of her students and her own children do not. Adopting a farmer helps her classroom connect to agriculture.

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