Presenters at Shiawassee County Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Safety Day shared their knowledge of many facets of farm life with hundreds of local fifth and sixth-graders.
Shiawassee County Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee was busy closing out the 2018-19 school year. Two marquee programs—Agriculture Safety Day and classroom chicken incubators—are hugely popular with students and teachers alike.
Fifth and sixth-graders from across Shiawassee County convened at the county fairgrounds in May for a packed schedule of expert presenters each examining a different aspect of agricultural safety. The county Farm Bureau’s third annual Agriculture Safety Day brought together some 430 students from elementary and middle schools in Owosso, Durand, New Lothrop and Byron.
Topics covered included 911, farm equipment, first aid, biosecurity and other livestock topics, electricity and fire, railroad crossings, bicycle safety and several others. Presenters included Michigan State Police, Corunna Area Ambulance, Shiawassee County Posse, Shiawassee County K-9 and the county sheriff department.
Almost a dozen county Farm Bureau members volunteered to make the event a success, from set-up to tear-down, with registration and a great big lunch in between: 800 hot dogs for students, teachers, chaperones and presenters.
Every year from January to June, several Shiawassee County schools take advantage of the county Farm Bureau’s Incubators in the Classroom program—going strong in its 10th year, according to Brandi Harrison, Shiawassee County Farm Bureau as its county administrative manager.
“It grows every year,” she said. “We have seven incubators now and still don’t have enough to get to all the teachers who want them.”
In those six months, students get a front-row seat on the chicken’s life cycle, observing and documenting their development from fertilized eggs to hungry hatchlings. The fertilized eggs are purchased from Michigan State University’s poultry farm.
“The students incubate the eggs and watch the chickens hatch,” Harrison said. “Each classroom also gets a candler so students can look inside the eggs and watch the growth as they develop.”
Teachers normally keep the chicks in the classroom for about a week before they’re relocated to an actual farm for continued development.