Marion-Florence FFA students became teachers Friday during Agriculture Awareness Day at Warrior Stadium, as they presented information on a variety of topics to Marion and Hillsboro elementary students.
“Some of the kids are right in their element and have been doing a great job,” MHS Ag teacher Mark Meyer said. “Others are finding it a little hard to fill an eight-minute talk.”
With a stock trailer to lean on and several cattle pinned up behind them, Jarrett McLinden and Tyler Makovec spoke about raising beef cattle.
“Who here likes candy?” McLinden asked a group elementary students whose hands shot up at the question. “Well, these pellets are like candy to cows.”
Makovec pointed to a white mystery cube and asked, “Does anyone know what this is?”
One informed student chimed in, “It’s a salt lick.”
“That’s right,” Makovec answered. “It’s a 50-pound salt-lick.”
Another elementary student asked, “How does the salt stay together?”
“Molasses,” McLinden answered. “Anyone ever hear that saying ‘slow as molasses? Yeah, good, well, that’s the same thing that holds this salt lick together.”
Makovec added that cattle get salt, minerals, and protein from eating the cube.
“But how do they eat it?” another elementary student asked.
“They lick it like a lollipop,” McLinden answered. “The salt dissolves when they lick it and sticks to their tongue. Then they digest it.”
In another location, Cassie Meyer fielded some unexpected questions about a miniature, blood-sucking passenger on one of her sheep.
“What’s that round thing in its ear?” the student asked.
“Oh, that, that’s a tick,” Meyer replied.
“Can’t you pull it out?” the student continued.
“Oh yes, yes you can, but that’s not what we’re a talking about, lets raise our hands and keep our voices down so we don’t scare the sheep,” Meyer said. “Now, everyone listen; you can gently touch it, and calmly pet the sheep. Feel how soft it is.”
In another location, Bryce Shults and Jacob Vondenkamp spoke about the inner workings of combines while standing in a machine’s massive shadow.
“Here everyone, take some wheat,” Shults said as they passed out sprigs of wheat. “Now run it in your hand. All you want is the grain.”
“That’s what the combine does,” Vondenkamp added. “Only it works a lot faster.”
Nearby, Antone Vinduska played “guess the weight” of a swather.
Other presenters included: Aidan and Shelby Cairns, goats; Colton Mercer, veterinary science; Caleb Hett, tractors and tillage; Peyton Ensey and Luke Dawson, hay bailers; Riley Hake, mowers; Jeremy Hett and Dan Hinton, ATV safety; Carley Stapleford and Zane Slater, horses; Joey Nickel and Cade Alleven, entomology; Austin Neufeld, soil and the FFA garden; and Kaitlyn Goebel and Rebecca Sawyer, rabbits.