On Monday, February 17 Milford Future Farmers of America (FFA) held a breakfast for community leaders and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new agricultural barn located on the Milford High School campus. Students informed State and local legislators, school board officials and FFA community supporters on the success of the local FFA chapter during breakfast and followed with a tour of the new agriculture facility which will host live animals.
The agricultural barn with host lambs and sheep year round so that students are able to follow the life cycle of the animal from birth through end-of-life. In addition, members of the FFA will raise pigs that the club purchases from a local auction and raise to show at the Delaware State Fair. FFA Advisor and animal science teacher at Milford High School Judith Bruns, believes the barn will not only be helpful for the FFA but all students receiving an education in agricultural studies.
“In the past, everything that the students learned was theoretical,’ commented Bruns. “The barn will allow students to be a part of the life cycle of the animals and learn from their actual experiences.”
Animal science students will be able to experience the birth of the animals at the agricultural barn and learn how to care for them as they grow including caring for their health and understand the management aspect of a facility that raises animals. With more than two years of planning and construction for the barn, students are anxious to begin their new hands-on learning.
“The students have been very excited for the arrival of the animals,” commented Bruns. “They have been asking to go see the barn and the animals every day this week.”
Bruns commented that a majority of the students in agricultural studies and the Milford FFA have no prior experience with life on the farm and maintenance of animals. As students have had progressively less knowledge about the agricultural industry over the years, Bruns believes that students of all focuses have a lot to learn about how much of an impact agriculture has on today’s economy and society.
“We try to teach students the connection food and fiber has in their every day lives,” commented Bruns. “Some students think that the food they eat comes from the supermarket or the clothes they wear comes from the retail stores. What they do not know is that they all begin and are connected to agriculture.”
As the students in the agricultural pathway learn through the lessons taught in the agricultural barn, Bruns believes that they will also learn the attributes of hard work and responsibility. Whether a student decides to have a career in agriculture or not, Bruns says those qualities will help students to be successful.
“Feeding a dog at home is easy but when they learn that even after a foot of snow the cows in the barn still need to be feed they will see what it means to be responsible,” commented Bruns. “It translates to not only agriculture but will be beneficial throughout the rest of their lives.”