Special to the Herald-News
Farmer’s Regional Livestock Market of Glasgow learned about the Farm to Table Program at Metcalfe County High School and partnered with the school to begin a heifer program for the students. The livestock market donated a breeding age heifer to the school valued at over $1,000. This provided another opportunity for applying skills learned in the classroom to real world situations.
The students in the food science and technology classes named the heifer Layla. She is a black baldie crossbred heifer and along with 18 other crossbred beef heifers are making the campus their home this summer. Students have been responsible for feeding and watering the livestock, rotating pasture fields, and checking fences. Students researched best practices for raising beef cattle in Kentucky, which is the largest beef producing state east of the Mississippi River.
Farm to Table coordinator, Lynn Hawkins knew that this would be a great opportunity to learn about animal reproduction through an AI class. Local beef producer and nutritionist, Brad Carter donated Red Angus genetics from his herd. Johnny and Tyler London then spoke to the class about the benefits of using AI, career opportunities in the livestock industry, and the importance of genetic selections. Harvey and Hayden Hawkins volunteered to help move the heifers to a secure working facility where students could attend the AI class. Students enjoyed a visit to the farm and had the experience of learning outside the classroom. Hopefully, the school will continue to grow the beef cow herd with a Red Angus crossed calf next spring. The school plans to raise the heifers and sell the steer calves to purchase replacement heifers for the program.
Extra, the school bottle calf, has been an extra opportunity for student learning. Extra is a twin that his mother was not able to successfully raise so he made his home on the school grounds. He has received lots of attention and the students have had the unique opportunity to care for a newborn calf through the process of weaning. He has become a pet for not only the Ag students, but any student who walks by him. For many students, this was their first experience working with livestock.
We are proud of the growth of the Farm to Table Program with the addition of a new fence and chicken coops, rabbit pens, and a heifer. Students have had several great learning experiences throughout the year. Students applied principles of science, math, and reading from classwork to outside labs by working with rabbits, chickens, and beef cattle. Students also spent many hours working in the greenhouse germinating, transplanting, growing garden plant, flowers, and ferns. In addition, students used eggs from the school chickens to make dishes such as omelets, traced food origins and made pizza, or studied the production of dairy cows and made plastic bag ice cream. After studying benefits of eating healthy fruits, students made fruit smoothies and milk shakes.
The Farm to Table program is designed to promote agriculture awareness in our school and community through hands-on applications. Special thanks go to Farmer’s Regional Livestock Market for supporting the agriculture department at Metcalfe Co. High School and providing this unique opportunity to continue real-world learning. We hope to add other species of livestock to our school farm this fall.