Leaders of tomorrow learn from the past
Countywide Ag Day held at Osgood

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Members of area school FFA chapters gathered at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park in Osgood on Wednesday, October 3 to learn from others and to teach those younger than themselves about agriculture. "Ag is much more than farming," noted Pat Holland, FFA advisor for South Ripley.

Third graders from all the schools in the county were invited to participate in the day long field trip that teaches them first hand about the past, present and future when it comes to agriculture.

Delbert Whitham from Switzerland County took time to show the students about Hit and Miss engines. He fired up the engine he had and told the children, "These are the only ones displayed at the Indiana State Fair." He is a member of the Ripley/Dearborn County F.A.R.M. Club. In his nineties, the retired Army veteran educated the children about the past. Helping him was South Ripley FFA member Aaron Hensley.

Students would also have the opportunity to shell and grind corn with antique equipment (provided by the F.A.R.M. club.) They would each receive a souvenir from the club stenciled on a cedar plank the club sawed from a previous exhibit. President of the club, Chris Schmaltz was on hand to help the students with various exhibits. "This is a great way for them to learn first hand," he noted.

The students were excited as they maneuvered through the exhibits, hearing about hydroponics, agriculture safety, dairy products, seeing animals up close and personal and learning about them. Wayne Peace, director of Ripley County Emergency Management had a display of a model city (Versailles), and what could happen if a crash occurred there. Janice Hosmer, Ripley County EMS coordinator through Margaret Mary Community Hospital was also on hand to answer questions.

Estol Barton, local retired hog farmer, brought some hogs to the fairgrounds for the children to see, touch, and learn about. Paul Anderson, president of Ripley County Farm Bureau also helped educate the children through his exhibit. Leah and Jeff Meinders sent livestock, and a horse demonstration was given by Andrea Woolum, senior at South Ripley. She was assisted by Tori Clayton and Jordan Vinup.
The students saw sheep, rabbits, and Boer goats, shown by 4-H member Ashley Vestal. The goats' owner, Betsy Baugh, brought them to the event.

Holland noted that the FFA members from each chapter are composed, educated, and professional as they share their expertise with the younger students. It's a great day of sharing, learning and blending various schools together for a common cause.

Charlotte Salkald, Jac-Cen-Del FFA advisor, Anita Boggs, advisor for Milan FFA chapter, and Jessica Geisler, FFA advisor for Batesville, were all in attendance along with Holland. They noted that it's a matter of them all pulling together to make the day a reality. Many teachers, parents, and other volunteers helped with the event that South Ripley's advisor was in charge of this year.

Quick to praise the students, Holland noted that chapter officers, Jim Hartman and Brian Thomas, were coordinating the group. FFA is the oldest student organization in the United States, according to Holland.

Pictured in hat is Delbert Whitham, a member of the Ripley/Dearborn F.A.R.M. Club, who shared his Hit and Miss engine display with county third graders at Ag Day held at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park in Osgood on Wednesday, October 3. He was assisted by Aaron Hensley from the South Ripley FFA chapter.