Olivia Nelson, 10, held out her hand to offer a tasty treat to a cow at Cleburne County High School on Tuesday morning. The animal wagged its tongue around to find the light brown chunk of food in the girl’s fingers, then happily devoured it.
“It was totally slimy,” she said with a smile after feeding the cow.
Olivia and the cow and many other students and animals participated Tuesday in the annual Farm Day sponsored by Future Farmers of America. Put together by high school members of FFA, the event was held for fourth-graders from across the county, more than 200 in all.
Olivia’s friend and classmate at Ranburne Elementary, Destini Denman, 10, also fed the cow, which sported little nubs for horns.
“It was pretty cool — every time he tried getting it he would drop it — I had to hold it so he could get his tongue over it,” Destini said.
Student organizer and president of the FFA chapter at the high school, Zach Griffith, invited the children to the high school to expose them to hands-on learning, exotic animals and speakers on various agricultural topics.
Griffith said planning for the event also received guidance from Clint Payne, the agricultural teacher at the high school. Griffith enlisted 54 fellow FFA members to help with the special day.
“We always feed them, take care of them and make sure they have fun,” Griffith said, referring to the fourth-graders.
Various learning stations were set up for each class to visit. Hobert Harris, 86, had a table of vintage tools and an apple peeler and dryer for the students to inspect.
“These kids love the apple peeler and the dryer ... these are tools of the past they no longer use much anymore,” Harris said.
Students, some with puzzled looks on their faces, studied a table full of old tools including hand drills, a pitchfork and a sling blade.
Karlee Pollard,10, was mesmerized by a small kangaroo which was hopping around a pen. The Australian marsupial was one of 15 exotic or unusual animals brought by Daniel Hall, owner of Tickled Pink Petting Zoo.
Said Karlee, “Kangaroos are my favorite animal now, just so soft, so sweet and cute and soft — feels like a stuffed animal — I just want to take it home and cuddle with it.”
Hall also brought a tortoise, a hare, a dwarf horse, a babydoll sheep and a 22-month-old camel named John Henry. That’s what caught the eye of 10-year-old Shayla Crowder.
“He’s my friend, he’s my friend,” Shayla said as she stroked the camel’s fuzzy face.
“The camel is very pretty and soft. I’m very excited to pet one,” she said.