March 23, 2012

Nebraska farmer visits third graders in Austin, Texas

A few months ago, a third grade class in Austin, Texas, took a tour of Mark Jagels farm in Davenport, Nebraska. The third graders didn't drive or fly up to Nebraska. They just took advantage of modern communication tools, with Jagels and his wife, Suzanne, walking the students around the farm with a Motorola Xoom tablet and iGoogle video.

Then they did a video chat so students could ask questions. (Read more about the experience here.

This month, Mark Jagels, who is on the Nebraska Corn Board, and Suzanne traveled to Austin to see the third graders in person. (Their son, Brett, just happens to be the students' teacher...hence the connection!)

They took yellow and white corn and soybeans along for the students to examine up close, and explained the different products that come from each, noting how each product benefits humans, livestock and people in other countries. "We also explained that when we sell the corn and soybeans, this is how we made money," Mark Jagels said.

They also played videos that showed some of the things that happen on their farm.

He said the students were very interested in livestock and wanted to know the size of baby calves and cows, how long a cow is pregnant and how old the calf is when you wean it. The curious kids also wondered how cows know which calf is there, if cows get married, if they ever get sick and why they receive and eartag and brand.

Plus...How long do you feed them in the feedlot? What kind of food do they eat? How much water and how many pounds of food do they consume each day?

"It was really exciting to see them ask questions and learn about where their food comes from," Mark Jagels said. "Thanks to our son and daughter-in-law (who also teaches at the school) for stressing the importance of agriculture, their farming background and for giving my wife and I the opportunity to spread the story of agriculture some 1,110 miles from our farm!"

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