For many Sycamore students, the annual 8th grade Farm Field Trip is the first time they step foot on a farm. With a growing disconnect between farming and food, the field trip is as important now as it was when it started 18 years ago.
Nearly 300 Sycamore students and a dozen of their teachers explored three local farms and agribusinesses on Oct. 12 and 15 – Tracy Jones’ beef feedlot and grain farm, John and Steve Ward’s pig farm, and CHS Elburn’s Seed & Agronomy facility.
The 8th graders also visited the Farm Bureau where they experienced more than 15 interactive learning stations that focused on a variety of agriculture topics like field corn, soybeans, soil erosion, machinery, and horticulture.
More than two dozen Sycamore High School FFA members assisted with the field trip. Some of these volunteers are now enrolled in high school agriculture courses because of their memorable farm field trip experience as 8th graders.
The Sycamore 8th Grade Farm Field Trip was sponsored by the DeKalb County Farm Bureau.
Ward’s Pig Farm
Pig squeals & tractor wheels
Farmer Steve Ward (above, left) shows swine housing and explains that students must remain outside of the barn for the health of the pigs. Sycamore FFA junior, Bradford Edwards, (above, right) lets students look inside one of the tractors used on the Ward farm. Later, students climb into the seat of the tractor.
Jones’ Beef & Grain Farm
Caring for cattle & the land
Dean Johnson (above) of the Soil & Water Conservation District explains the importance of soil conservation and shows students a combine that has just come in from the field. Also at this farm, Jason Johnson and Brent Hueber with Compeer Financial shared their experiences with raising beef as students toured Tracy Jones’ feedlot.
Children of the corn
Sycamore students (above, left) are instructed to go into a corn field, pick an ear, and remove the kernels by hand. Bronwyn Burgweger (above, right) with CHS then shows students some of the everyday products that use field corn including hand soap, cereal, crayons, and glue, just to name a few.
DeKalb County Farm Bureau
An array of agriculture
Eighth graders have an assortment of ag-tivities to explore at the Farm Bureau. Sycamore FFA junior Allie Drake (above, left) assists students with creating boutonnieres while others (above, right) learn that every ear of corn has an even number of kernels.