In order to better serve the entire 5th grade population of Holmes County, this year we'll be hosting two separate iterations of the Tom Graham 5th Grade Conservation Farm Tour: one west, one east! In addition to a reprise of last year's outstanding venue at the Wachtel family's Spring Walk Farm in Ripley Township, we'll be staging a second edition at the Walnut Creek Township farm of the Tom Miller family, One-O-One Ranch. Dairy in the west. Beef in the east. The venues will offer students an interesting and informative perspective whether they attend the Wachtel's working dairy farm in the west, or the Miller's beef operation in the east. Each group will have a chance to learn more about the science behind conservation and agriculture.
But in addition to the change in location, 2018 will usher in exciting changes in the student contests that take place AFTER the farm tour as well:
This year’s 5th Grade Farm Tour Essay Contest seeks to replace the previous two-category format with a single category: Creative nonfiction.
In simplest terms, creative nonfiction conveys facts in a way that reads like fiction. What we’re looking for are essays built around any number of facts or details that the student has gleaned from his or her experience during their day on the farm—information woven into a creative delivery. For instance, a student may choose to tell a “day in the life” story of a boy or girl who lives on a dairy farm, or perhaps a cow living on that same farm. A student could write about the different soils characteristics a worm encounters as it borrows its way through the profile. How about the story of a fish whose life gets a whole lot better when the water in his stream becomes clear? There are any number of possibilities.
One other change for the essay contest is that unlike previous years where the winning essay was read at our annual meeting, this year both winning essays will be printed in our annual meeting program. Prior to the meeting, interviews will be conducted with the winning authors and incorporated into a slide show about the farm tour as a whole that will be shown during the meeting program. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will still be recognized during the meeting.
NOTE: Rules vary slightly for east and west entries.
Hiland FFA Chapter Contest (east): Posters must feature student’s original slogan and original artwork, and must be traditionally, hand drawn and colored.
West Holmes FFA Chapter Contest (west): Posters must feature student’s original slogan and original artwork, and may be traditionally, hand drawn and colored OR computer generated.
Water Quality Station Returns
And finally, we are excited to reprise last year's newest learning station in our farm tour line up that focusing on water quality. The station helps students visualize the effects of on conservation practices, such as the use of cover crops, and how soil and water health are two inter-connected parts of a whole.
Have questions about the farm tour or other educational programs? Contact our office for more information!