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First-graders learn about farm life
May 13, 2013 | 747 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FIRST GRADERS get close-up view of farm life in visit to the Hamblin Farm in Syracuse. Students watched as sheep were sheared, felt their wool, and got a close-up look at baby animals, as they learned of the value of farms.
FIRST GRADERS get close-up view of farm life in visit to the Hamblin Farm in Syracuse. Students watched as sheep were sheared, felt their wool, and got a close-up look at baby animals, as they learned of the value of farms.
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STORY AND PHOTOS BY LOUISE R. SHAW

Clipper Staff Writer

SYRACUSE — Last year and the year before that and the year before that, when first graders walked from the sheep-shearing shed to the baby animal pens at Hamblin Dairy, they walked past a long line of cows.

Some cows would turn their heads, some kids would plug their noses, but each group showed considerable curiosity about the other.

This year those cows were gone.

“We had no choice,” said Lance Hamblin. “We held out as long as we could.”

Hamblin is the third generation to run what has been Davis County’s last dairy farm. 

His children, the fourth generation, were excited, willing and ready to take over the farm, he said.

Instead, because the cost of feed is too high and the price of milk too low, their 111 dairy cattle were sold to Bliss Dairy in Delta. 

“Everything was paid for,” said Hamblin of the farm he spent his whole life building. “We just had to pay operating costs, but we couldn’t.”

First graders from Davis County schools were still invited to tour the farm, a tradition that has gone on for so many years most can’t remember when it started.

Representatives from Future Farmers of America, Davis County 4-H, the Farm Bureau and the Davis County Conservation District, organized by USU Extension Services of Davis County, taught hundreds of students over two days about the importance of agriculture.

“If we didn’t have farms we wouldn’t have food,” said Becca Ferry, as she explained how seed becomes wheat, wheat becomes flour and flour becomes cereal and Oreo cookies. 

She then helped them make living necklaces with seed.

“We can’t depend on food from other countries because we don’t know what pesticides they might use, and a lot of it is not good for you,” said Gary Jacketta. “Here in the U.S. it’s controlled.”

He then demonstrated the water cycle and how it can be negatively impacted by oil or fertilizer residue that runs off from residences.

Students watched a sheep being sheared and learned about how milk is stored and kept bacteria- free. They had a chance to get up close to baby pigs, chicks and a goat, and to pet a friendly llama.

Hamblin has no plans to sell the farm or to have the land developed, as has happened all around him.

His father has planted corn, but the likelihood of a dry year makes the success of that enterprise at risk, said Hamblin.

If he was forced to sell, he said his house would have to go with it because he couldn’t watch while his life’s work was torn down.

As long as his family owns the farm, he said the extension service is welcome to continue to host first graders every spring, for their day at his Utah century farm.

And if they do come, next year and the next, they will get the chance, like first graders before them, to learn about how important farms are.

lshaw@davisclipper.com

 

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