What it takes to run a farm

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Southampton students learn about tractors, soils, plants


Second graders of the Southampton County public schools and the academy got close looks at what’s going down on a farm. This took place last Friday at Foxhill Farms in Capron, and was coordinated by Jennifer Coker, the Conservation Education technician of the Chowan Basin Soil and Water Conservation District. Clarke Fox said this was the fourth year his place has hosted the program. That came about when the Chowan group made the request, which Fox said he was glad to participate.

Art Kirby and Reed Felts oversee as Capron students fill clear tubes of different types of soil. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” he said.

While the children were not actually expected to help with preparing the soil or driving tractors for planting, they did learn about both at the learning stations set up for them.

There were 11 sites total that also ranged from petting farm critters, such as the lambs Inkspot and Butterscotch, to learning about the ingredients that go into the foods we enjoy eating. Eric Brittle of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries brought deer skulls and antlers along with snakeskins, turkey feathers and a bobcat pelt for the youngsters to see and touch. Nearby, Scott Bachman and Travis Tindell from the Virginia Department of Forestry brought related articles for examination. Neil Clark talked about how lumber is obtained from forests, and Joshua Holland took groups to see huge farm equipment such as tractors and harvesters; both men are from the Southampton County Extension Service.

Ginger was part of the lesson about dairy cows and how milk is made. Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

In the mobile dairy classroom, LaVaun Janney of Southland Dairy Farm brought Ginger, a 3-year-old cow. That way, the students can better understand that their milk comes from animals such as her, and not just the grocery store where cartons are bought.

“It was a very good turnout,” Coker said about the attendance. “It’s the second year that I’ve been a part of it. They [the students] get to see the process — it’s important and amazing. They inspire me.”

Similar presentations are done in neighboring Greensville and Sussex counties. In between such programs, Coker is available to do in-class presentations at schools. Contact her at 434-336-6243 to learn more about the programs.