4th Grade Farmer Visit at Explorer Elementary

Fourth graders at Explorer adopted a South Dakota farmer through Ag United for South Dakota.  Each month, the outreach director, through Ag United, sends us a video from a farmer in the surrounding area. The students are able to watch the video and discuss the topic afterward. Also included with our video, is a math word problem that correlates to the 4th grade standard, 4.OA.3. This is a great resource to introduce a major industry of our state to students who may have no experience with agriculture.  

This year the Explorer fourth graders adopted Bruce Burkhart. He has a family owned farm near Dell Rapids, SD. We learned that Bruce’s family has owned this farm for over 100 years! He lives next to the house that he grew up in, where his grandparents first started the farm in 1917.   

On February 19th, after months of videos, the students got a visit from Bruce. He came in and presented more detailed information about his family farm and their operation. 

Bruce explained to the students how hog farming works, about taking care of large animals, and about utilizing technology to help keep animals sage and comfortable in harsh South Dakota weather. The students learned how a lot of things on a farm are reused. Corn stalks are reused after a combine goes through a field of corn and the manure from the pigs is used to fertilize the crop fields. They also learned how detailed the farmer must be to abide by state and federal laws; Bruce told the students how he has to keep track of all medicine given, how he has to get his farm inspected, and how clean the hog barn has to be after each group of hogs moves out. We saw the inner workings of a combine; how a single machine can take individual kernels off a husk and separate it into needed items and non-needed items.  

After his presentation, questions were welcomed. Our students were curious and asked many thoughtful questions. They were interested in all things livestock. This is such a great opportunity to inform our students about the importance of the family farm, to the state of South Dakota.