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Fourth graders to get ag machinery lesson
August 29, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Elizabeth Gross/Gering Citizen - FARM volunteers Dwight Vance, Tim Maxcy and Marvin Crom work on a Caterpillar 60 in preparation for the tractor parade during last year’s Harvest Festival at the museum. FARM is now part of Legacy of the Plains museum, which includes the former North Platte Valley Museum.

Fourth graders from schools around the area will learn about how farms used to operate when the Farm And Ranch Museum rolls out its annual FARM Hands on History Program.

FARM, now a part of the Legacy of the Plains Museums, will host the fourth graders on Sept. 4 and 5. Educational Service Unit #13 coordinates getting the schools involved. Some of the participants in the past have included Gering and Scottsbluff, Mitchell, Morrill, Minatare and Banner County. Over the two-day event, approximately 600 – 700 fourth graders attend.

Nancy Haney, FARM media coordinator, said some of the activities they will demonstrate include harnessing horses, how a block and tackle works, shelling and grinding corn and baling hay. The different types of power, from tractor power to horsepower will be demonstrated as well.

“All our volunteers will be pointing out the simple machines and how they work together,” Haney said. “It’s kind of a refresher course because kids learn about simple machines in third grade.”

She said the thank you notes received from the kids are “just fabulous.” The event helps get them familiar with the museum and many of them come back in a couple of weeks for the Harvest Festival.
“Today’s kids might not understand that 100 years ago, their family’s livelihood depended on them helping out on the farm,” Haney said. “Kids started out with simple tasks like gathering eggs and feeding the chickens, then took on more difficult tasks as they grew older.”

Once FARM Hands on History is finished, museum volunteers ready the grounds for the17th annual Harvest Festival on Sept. 21 – 22.
“Forage and livestock will be featured this year,” Haney
said. “We’ll also have the regular demonstrations of corn shelling and grinding, baling, blacksmithing and a whole lot more.”

There will be food concessions available, a cowboy campfire with coffee, hayrack rides and many other activities, such as the ever popular horse and tractor parades. There will also be the dig-sack take home potato harvest. For the kids, there will be a hay bale fort, a pedal tractor track and a barrel train.

The Gering Kiwanis will host a pancake breakfast both days at 7 a.m. and there will be a church service on Sunday at 10 a.m.
Again this year during the Harvest Festival, the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center will have a number of educational displays and demonstrations.

Admission to the Harvest Festival is $3 and hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call FARM at (308) 426-1989.

FARM is also conducting a gourd decorating event as a fundraiser for the museums. The public is invited to stop by the museum, pick out a gourd, creatively decorate it and return it by Oct. 18. The gourds will then be on display from Oct. 19 – Nov. 15. And on the 15th, the gourds will be auctioned with proceeds going to support the Legacy of the Plains Museums.

The museum is located west of Gering at 2930 Old Oregon Trail, on the road to Scotts Bluff National Monument.
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