2017-12-07 / News

Ag Awareness explains ‘From Farm to Fork’


Audra Armour instructs students on the poultry industry. Audra Armour instructs students on the poultry industry. Leading up to Ag Awareness Day, a variety of local and area farmers made presentations at Washington-Wilkes Elementary School.

The idea behind Ag Awareness Day is to educate individuals about how products get from the farm to grocery stores. Every product begins on a farm – whether plant or animal – and has to be grown, harvested, processed, and packaged before a consumer is able to enjoy it.

As generations are further removed from the farm, it becomes even more important to provide opportunities for students to learn where their food comes from. The Wilkes County Young Farmers Ag Awareness theme continues to be “From Farm to Fork” as attention is focused on connecting the raw farm product to packaged products found in the grocery store. This year’s items included beef, poultry, dairy, sugar cane, and fruit.


Winning the quiz contest were (l-r) Terry Lee Treadway, Marco Juarez, Messiah Wynn, and Lindsey Pruitt. Winning the quiz contest were (l-r) Terry Lee Treadway, Marco Juarez, Messiah Wynn, and Lindsey Pruitt. As Herman Wheatley chopped beef to be ground into hamburger, Dr. M.R. Clayton asked students where beef comes from. “I was pleased when they said beef comes from cows,” Clayton said. “Most kids say beef comes from the grocery store, and that’s what we’re here to correct.” FFA Officer Lola Hammond, Young Farmer member Shane Moore, and Amelia Wheatley assisted at the beef station where students observed the grinding of chopped beef into hamburger and then were able to taste the cooked product.

Shelby Smith, a recent graduate of UGA, and Joe Taylor, AgGeorgia Farm Credit director, instructed children in the area of dairy. Smith hails from Smith Dairy Farms which has the largest dairy in Wilkes County where she gained substantial knowledge in the dairy industry. Students were able to enjoy milkshakes that were made while they discussed how cows are milked and the milk is pasteurized and sent to the store for sale. Kylie and Emily Weaver, FFA Officers, were the leaders in the milkshake station.


Billy Walker and his son, Chase, press apples as students eagerly watch the process. Billy Walker and his son, Chase, press apples as students eagerly watch the process. Audra Armour, Wilkes County Extension Agent, instructed students on the poultry industry and its impact on Wilkes County. Armour had live chicks for the students to hold in order to understand how they begin as just a small chick and finally become the nugget they are able to enjoy at restaurants or home. Students were also able to enjoy a taste of chicken nuggets to demonstrate the complete product once the chickens are processed and cooked to sell.

Nick Holton of Wrightsville visited with his cane mill to demonstrate the process of grinding sugar cane that can then be cooked into syrup, candy, or made into sugar. Young Farmer members Joe Burton and Mike Jackson assisted Holton in grinding the cane. Maddie Gunter, an FFA member, spoke to the students about sugar and its many uses in cooking. Students were then able to enjoy sugar cookies, taste cane juice, and even taste syrup that Holton’s family cooks each fall. “It was great to see the students excited and learning about agriculture simultaneously,” Holton said.

Billy Walker and his son, Chase, took their apple press and demonstrated how apples are juiced. Students sampled the juice with the help of Anna Kate Hefner, an FFA officer. Many students were amazed at the taste of the natural apple juice and the simple process to get the product.

Students also participated in a quiz contest each day. Daily quizzes were administered to students on the topics of general agriculture and the various topics that students would be studying on Ag Awareness Day in order to prepare them for the upcoming events. Highest scorers were awarded monetary awards. Winners were Terry Lee Treadway, Marco Juarez, Messiah Wynn, and Lindsey Pruitt.

The activities were coordinated by the Wilkes County Young Farmers in a joint effort with other Ag Advocate groups including the Wilkes County Farm Bureau, Wilkes County Cattlemen’s Association, AgGeorgia Farm Credit, Wilkes County Extension Service, and Washington-Wilkes FFA.

Volunteers from each of these organizations implemented the program. “The children really enjoyed it,” W-WES Principal Angela McGill said. “Each class comes in for 25 minutes and then they rotate. We really appreciate Eric Holton, the FFA, and all of the other organizations for bringing this to our students every year.”

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