The Presque Isle County Farm Bureau grew children’s agricultural skills through the friendly competition of their annual giant sunflower contest.
The five-month contest began on Mother’s Day weekend, when nearly 100 local youngsters took home sunflower seeds from the county Farm Bureau’s annual Small Animal Day, hosted by Sunrise Gardens and Grains in Rogers City.
All three sons of Presque Isle County Farm Bureau members Amanda and Frankie Jumper made solid showings in the contest, although their plants narrowly escaped destruction.
“Our flowers almost got ruined when our cattle got out of their fence a couple weeks ago,” said Hunter Jumper.
Tallest sunflower winners:
Largest diameter sunflower winners:
Contest winners received a certificate and a monetary award sponsored by the county Farm Bureau. Plans for next year’s contest are already in the works.
“It’s important for us to engage the community in this event — important to have a presence, especially in the non-farming community,” said Christian Tollini, who chairs Presque Isle County Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education efforts. “I also think it’s a great way to get kids interested in agriculture at a young age.”
Participants were provided with guidance for sunflower planting and care throughout the growing season. Measuring Day came five months later, with four contestants prevailing with the tallest stalks and widest diameter flowers.
“In addition to seeing sunflower growth and development, participating families also learn about soil fertility,” said Tollini. “When seeds were distributed in the spring, we went over the roles nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium play in growing sunflowers.”