Pals kids get an up-close look at life on a Kandiyohi farm
At least for one day, 41 youth from the New London-Spicer summer Pals day care program on Thursday got to experience life on the farm. With the help of the school's FFA students, the K-5 grade kids learned about agriculture -- both past and present -- on the Jerome and Kristine Bengtson dairy farm in rural Kandiyohi.
"We enjoy seeing the kids enjoy themselves," said Kristine Bengtson. "They get to see what it's like to live in a whole different world than living in town."
The kids took a hay ride, ran in a soybean field during a scavenger hunt, climbed on a combine, played in an empty grain bin, experimented with antique farm equipment and made ropes.
"The saw they don't have to be so afraid of everything," Bengtson said. "And they can learn something besides."
A highlight was touring the dairy barn. The kids giggled and squealed when they put their fingers into the milking claw and felt the pulsating vacuum.
The children "learned a lot" and asked good questions, Bengtson said. One child wondered if the color of a cow made a difference if they gave milk or not. Some thought milk only came from the grocery store.
"We're really proud of our heritage and we enjoy sharing it with people," Bengtson said, whose family milks about 40 cows on their 100-head operation.
Living on a farm is "hard work," but showing people the farm "gives us a renewed pride and helps us realize we've got it pretty good," she said.
This is the second year that Pals, FFA and the Bengtson family teamed up for the summer field trip. The event ended with a hotdog roast and an old-fashioned water fight.
The summer Pals program ends next week.