Wood County farmer and Ohio Soybean Council board member Andy Stickel invited students from all over Ohio and beyond to visit his farm this week—virtually, that is! Stickel led an elementary field trip one day and another for middle and high school students the next, helping them learn about modern farming.
Stickel’s farm is a family business, going back to when his great-grandfather started farming there in early 1900s. They grow soybeans, corn, and wheat, as well as also tomatoes and alfalfa to feed their beef cows.
Both groups learned about spring planting and the equipment used and the stages of soybean growth. They also heard about the many careers connected to agriculture: “Farming isn’t just farmers,” Stickel said. He mentioned sales people, researchers, truck drivers, people who run processing facilities, and others.
Tom Fontana, Ohio Soybean Council’s Director of Research and Education, talked about the uses of soybeans. The soybean contains protein used to feed animals such as pigs, chickens, and cattle. Soybean oil is used in many foods, such as salad dressing, and made into biodiesel, paints, hand sanitizer, and much more.
The older students got a more in-depth explanation of how farmers work to protect soil and water through management practices.
With Stickel speaking to the classes live from his farm, he was able to answer their questions immediately.
“How many tractors do you have?” Seven.
“How many people help you farm?” The whole family pitches in when they can to help Andy, his father, and his brother.
“What’s the hardest part of your job?” “I really love my job. Every day is a different challenge.”
Be sure to visit the GrowNextGen YouTube channel to see recordings of these and other virtual field trips, as well as other interesting and informative videos!