WAVERLY – The classroom expanded a bit last Friday morning for Hamlow Elementary first graders.

Students have been studying farm safety as part of their curriculum. To put their lessons into practice, students visited the Tom and Paula Peterson farm north of Waverly. The field trip to learn more about farm life also included a visit Friday morning to the Tractor Supply Company’s store in Waverly.

First Grade Teacher Angie Konen said some students may have experience on a farm, but others do not.

She said Friday’s field trip not only gave students valuable information about how to be safe should they ever be on a farm, but it also offered a look at where their food comes from.

At the Peterson farm, those lessons came with plenty of hands on experience.

“We are going to tell you lots and lots of stuff,” Paula Peterson told the students as they got off the bus.

Peterson, who serves also as a volunteer for the Farm Bureau Foundation, is more than happy to have the kids tour the farm. Promoting agriculture is important to her.

“Kids don’t always have the opportunity to see where their food comes from,” she said. “I like to show them the farm and agriculture and how it affects them,”

Peterson and her husband helped their children and now grandchildren understand the basics of agriculture and farm safety. But not all kids have that opportunity. In many cases, she said children are now three and four generations removed from the farm.

Lessons on the farm Friday included a demonstration of feeding cattle. While the large cattle could only be safely looked at through the fence, students did get a chance to see up close and pet a four week old calf.

There were also sheep to see and touch. Again, the lesson included which animals should and shouldn’t be touched and how to do it safety when an adult says it’s OK.

The students also got to see from a distance the approximately 1,000 pound hay bales stacked up on the farm.

“They may look like fun to play on,” Peterson told the students. “But, that is definitely not some place to play.”

She asked them to imagine what would happen if one of those large bales would roll or fall of someone.

There were lessons to be learned from equipment too. Tom Peterson and hired hand Zach Morton showed a tractor, planter, combine and sprayer.

“The planter is a really important piece of equipment,” the farmer told the students. “If we don’t get it set right, the crops won’t grow right.”

He told the students about how the corn and soybean seeds went through the planter and into the ground. He also explained the other equipment.

The students got to ask questions about each piece of equipment and then climbed into the cab for an even closer look.

Tom Peterson explained it was important to always keep a safe distance from the equipment, especially when it was operating. He showed the children how the planter and sprayer could fold up to sit in storage or travel on a road, and then open up when it was in operation.

Watching the expressions on the students’ faces for these demonstrations is one of his favorite parts of the farm tour.

“When you are unfolding, you hear ‘wow’ and ‘awesome.’ They just like it when

that starts up,” he said.

The students had some good questions, Tom Peterson said, but nothing too surprising. Like his wife, he said he just enjoyed the opportunity of sharing with the students.

This was the second year that Hamlow Elementary first graders visited the Peterson farm. Students from Omaha were scheduled for a similar field trip on Thursday. Due to weather, Peterson said that visit had to be postponed later this month.

Konen said the students are wrapping up their studies about safety on the farm and will integrate the information they learned during Friday’s trips to the Petersons and TSC.

A special farmers’ breakfast is also planned for this Friday morning. Students are inviting farmers and other guests to help them celebrate the completion of their farm safety unit.

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