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  • Fairbury News staff

Petting zoo a learning experience

Students learn about grain safety during the PC FFA petting zoo in Fairbury.

Children in the Prairie Central school district got a taste of farm life Thursday thanks to members of the PCHS FFA chapter.

The ag shop in Fairbury was transformed into a petting zoo and learning station in honor of National FFA Week. Several high school students brought their animals while others even drove a tractor to school.

“It’s a really fun day to bring your animals in and show them off to the children,” said Rachel McGreal, a vice president for the Prairie Central FFA.

Activities in a nearby classroom taught kids all about agriculture and what the industry entails. Kylie Bazzell helped run a farm charm station to teach different aspects of farming to the youngsters.

“We’ve been using different charms that represent different parts of the farm like soil and water,” Bazzell explained.

Hosting the annual petting zoo is no easy task as FFA members must set up all of the gates, prepare the shop and cleanup afterward.

“All of the members come together, work and get everything put together. Everybody just works really hard to do it,” fellow vice president Grace Eisenmann added.

FFA reporter Haven Slagel was another helper at the ag learning station. Her donkeys and chicks were on display at the nearby petting zoo, allowing her to interact with the younger students.

“We are making cow masks with the kids and just teaching them about that,” said Slagel.

Thursday’s petting zoo at the high school was only part of a busy week of activities for the FFA chapter. They held the traditional milk chugging contests and hosted a high school assembly while also preparing for the Farm and Home Show at the Prairie Central Upper Elementary School in Forrest.

Another upcoming highlight includes the FFA Hog Roast and Auction on Thursday, March 21 at the high school. A meal will be served from 4-6:30 p.m. with the auction to follow. This year’s raffle tractor is a 1946 Farmall H with the winner drawn at the auction. Raffle tickets are available from any FFA member and will be sold the night of the auction.

Prairie Central’s FFA has achieved much success in the past year with strong showings at nationals for meats, agriculture communications, dairy products and poultry. The chapter also includes the 2018 national agriculture sales champions and reserve national champions for the farm business management team. So far this year at the state level, they have been named champions in ag sales, meats and dairy products.

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