VERSAILLES — Buschur Dairy Farm outside of North Star, produces about 65,000 pounds of milk a day.
According to Pat Buschur, who owns the farm with his brothers, that amounts to about a semi-truck full. From the cows, their milk goes to Bordon, Inc. in Cincinnati where it is distributed to different vendors. That was one of the many lessons students learned at Versailles Future Farmers of America (FFA) forty-fifth annual Farm Day, May 12, at Buschur Dairy Farm. The Buschurs have donated their farm for Versailles FFA Farm Day at least eight times, according to Versailles Vocational Agriculture Teacher and FFA Adviser Dena Wuebker. It is the home of Versailles FFA members Caden and Aaron Buschur.
“I think it is wonderful for the kids,” Pat said. “I enjoy watching the kids enjoy it, and my brother Steve is also big into this. Everyone around here has someone who is related to a farm, but the further out you go it is not the case.”
According to Wuebker, Farm Day is designed to teach children about where their food comes from and how the American farm operates. About 800 elementary school students and more than 200 parents from Darke, Shelby and Miami counties attended.
“It is extremely important to educate all of our consumers today about agriculture, where their food comes from and the effort and hard work that goes into producing agricultural products,” Wuebker said. “The American farmer does such a great job, in terms of providing care for their animals, for their environment, their land and their employees and everything else they are doing to produce high – quality food to feed the world.”
Classes were led around the farm, station to station, by group leaders that are FFA members. Students spent about two-and-one-half hours on the farm. The stations: “Walking Tour”, “Cow Milking and Parlor”, “Soybeans”, “Petting Zoo”, “French Fries”, “Sheep”, “Wildlife”, “Bees/Honey”, “Yogurt”, “Cookies and Milk”, “Swine and Beef” and “Farm Safety/Large Equipment”, each provided something the students could touch or taste. Junior Versailles FFA student Hallie Mills grew up on a farm. She led the students in the “Cow Milking and Parlor”. Some students milked a cow. They learned about the modern and traditional methods of producing quality milk.
“I know some of these kids, and they have never seen a milking parlor, where the cows are milked, or where their milk comes from,” Mills said. “It is important for them to know how much work that goes into making milk safe here, and that it is pasteurized keeping out all of the bacteria.”
In the “Cookies and Milk” station, students were asked to identify cookie ingredients, such as eggs and sugar, while learning how those ingredients came from the farm. They were rewarded with cookies and milk. One of the more adventurous stations was “Wildlife” led by Doug Steinbrunner from Darke County Soil and Water. He passed around different animal pelts, skulls and antlers for the students to touch, smell and identify. Second grade student Jaelin Hecht enjoyed touching the animal pelts, she said.
“I liked the bear feet,” she said.
A safety component was taught by Auglaize County 4-H Advisers Donald Baumer and his wife Lois. Donald has been an adviser for 22 years. He and some of his friends created a crash simulator that crashes at about 22 miles per hour , containing adult and baby dummies without seat belts. They take it to different county functions.
“I think seat belt safety is the most important for smaller kids,” Donald said. “To get them to set in a car seat, you have to show them a reason why. It is something all kids should see. I hope by showcasing this, I can save at least one life with this message.”
In addition to the Buschurs, Wuebker wanted to thank the following: the Versailles School Aministration; the schools that participated; Versailles FFA members, Alumni and parents: Monica Goubeaux, Mark Hess, Laura Schwieterman, Heidi Gilmore and Brice Berge; the Dannon Co., Inc.; Reiter Dairy, LLC; Keller Feed and Grain; Line View Dairy Farm – Doug Schmitmeyer and family; Darke and Miami County Farm Bureau; Ohio Pork Producers; Mid East United Dairy Industry Association; Ohio Soybean Association; Ohio Beef Council; Ohio Poultry Association; Janet Mendenhall; Doug Steinbrunner of Darke County Soil and Water; Erika Grogean; Taylor Tyo; Ryan Sorensen; Nathan Mescher; Laney Petitjean; Brooke Stuck; Jim Dirksen Family; Sarah Kremer; Darian Feltz; Brad Polhman and Matt Aultman.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.