More than fun and games, Farm Bureau teaches kids about agriculture

Four-year-old Bryce Clawson competes in the Kiddy Tractor pull, with the help of Farm Bureau member Dave Lierer on Friday, July 27, at the Butler County Fair. JACKIE OSBORNE/STAFF
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Four-year-old Bryce Clawson competes in the Kiddy Tractor pull, with the help of Farm Bureau member Dave Lierer on Friday, July 27, at the Butler County Fair. JACKIE OSBORNE/STAFF

For Jarrett Boyd, he was ready to race far before the start line was even drawn. He pedaled back and forth on the short concrete path practicing for his big moment.

“Last year my mom and dad didn’t let me do it, but this year I get to,” Boyd said, rocking the tiny green tractor and spinning the steering wheel.

The self-proclaimed “expert” tractor driver and seven-year-old competitor walked away a first-place winner of the Kiddy Tractor Pull on Friday at the Butler County Fair.

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Farm Bureau Fun Day took place again this year at the fair, and is one of many programs the organization holds to educate young children about agriculture. Competitions like the tractor pull, egg toss, tug-of-war and the harvest dash bring in children ages four to nine to get involved in learning more about the farming way of life.

“It’s something that we’ve done for many, many years,” Farm Bureau board member Melissa Gillespie said.

It’s such a tradition, Kelli Gerber says, that many children look forward to signing up all year and hope to walk away with a trophy.

“There’s kids that literally practice this tractor pull all year long,” Gerber said.

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Including Butler County’s own Fair King, who can remember the tough competition he faced racing as a four-year-old.

“I was really bad at it. One year I actually trained for it, then I lost again. But it’s pretty fun,” Dalton Norris said.

Gerber and her friends from 4-H competed every year, starting on the same exact pavement she stands on today at 23 years old. Now, she’s grateful for the chance to compete in Farm Bureau’s games and learn more about agriculture at a young age, as it sparked her passion for farming.

For the Bureau, Fun Day is a chance to encourage families to learn where their food comes from and attempt to stop the industry from shrinking. Gillespie and Gerber hope to inspire young, expert tractor drivers like Boyd to get involved in what keeps the world fed.

“It starts at a young age and I think it’s great that kids see that everything is grown, it’s not just coming from the grocery store,” Gillespie said.

Though he’s not quite old enough to drive a tractor on his own, Boyd wants to be a farmer when he grows up. He’s spent early mornings at his family’s farm picking corn and autumn days on hay rides.

“I already know all of (farming) and it will be a lot easier for me,” Boyd said. “I like it. I’m a farm kid.”