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Day on the Farm is Saturday in Goessel

Contributing writer

Rather than send your kids off to one more activity, do something together as a family, something fun and helpful. Go together Saturday to the farm of Carol Duerksen and Maynard Knepp, northeast of Goessel.”

Activities, which will run continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will include pig catching by children, goat tending, horseback riding, tractor wagon rides, and a branding iron demonstration.

Other scheduled events include goat milking and pig catching at 11 a.m. and a children’s story at 12:45 p.m. A meal will be served at 11:30 a.m.

The purpose of A Day on the Farm is to build connections between rural and urban families, and in particular to give children a chance to experience some aspects of farm life and perhaps connect with their grandparents.

While the day is free, it is designed to raise funds for Mennonite Agri-Urban Inc., which sponsors the event.

The fact that this is the 13th annual Day on the Farm speaks for its popularity. Between 400 and 500 people usually come. Children get to touch farm animals — including pigs, goats, calves, sheep, and horses — and see more exotic animals, such as llamas, emus, and a buffalo calf. They also can watch rope making and climb through a bale maze.

The Agri-Urban program began in 1972. The idea was for farmers and cattle feeders to donate labor, facilities, and feed or pasture to fatten cattle, and for urbanites to give money to buy the animals and possibly some or all of the feed. Profits from the sale of cattle go to Western District Conference, Mennonite Church USA, and Bethel College and also are reinvested in Agri-Urban.

The Day on the Farm began in 1996 as a way to involve more people from urban areas. Duerksen and Knepp, who also write a series of Amish novels, provide the farm for city folks to visit. Duerksen said, “It’s fun to share our animals with so many people.”

Last modified Aug. 13, 2008

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