UK Farm Visit Connects Students to Forages

A field trip to the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop research farm gave Millcreek Elementary School students the opportunity to get out of the city and learn about the pastures for which Kentucky is so famous.

“Most of these kids are from the city or the suburbs, and only a few of them have any kind of farm background,” said Ray Smith, UK extension forage specialist. “We wanted to show them where their food comes from, how horses are raised and the kinds of things horses eat, so they have an understanding of Kentucky agriculture.”

Students rotated through several educational stations on the farm. They walked through a typical horse pasture and learned to identify and collect different grasses and weeds. The students helped the UK forages group by collecting seeds from a field containing Woodford Big Flower Vetch, a variety that is nearly extinct, although small populations continue to grow at Spindletop.

Krista Lea, UK research analyst, said one of the goals of the day was to interest kids in agriculture and science. “Many of them said this was the first time they had ever been out on a farm. It’s really cool to get them out here and to see what UK offers,” she said. “Maybe they’ll want to come to school here one day, but even if they don’t, they’ll just have a better appreciation of agriculture.” ~ Katie Pratt