AVON — The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County Ag in the Classroom Program partnered with Mulligan Farms in Avon to hold tours for Kindergarten and 8th Grade students.

Overall, more than 100 eighth grade students from Dansville and 300 Kindergarten students from the Avon, Keshequa, Livonia, Mount Morris, and Wayland school districts participated in the event. Twenty Environmental Science students from Avon High School also toured the facilities.

CCE Livingston County’s Ag in the Classroom Program holds tours annually in an effort to educate students on the agricultural industry, animal agriculture and the science, technology and decision making processes involved on the farm. Tours are tailored specifically to meet the needs of each grade level.

The Mulligan family has been a supporter of the Ag in the Classroom program - recognizing the importance of agriculture education. As a result, their farm seemed like the perfect location for this year’s program.

The high school students heard from the team of professionals that care for the animals and land at Mulligan Farms. Ultimately, they learned how the professionals are versed in the latest science and technology, as is the farmer.

“Agriculture as an industry is evolving so quickly that it takes a team of specialized agricultural professionals to help our farms attain their goals,” said Ag in the Classroom Educator Bernadette Harwood. “It also enables students to learn about the various agricultural careers and how they serve the agricultural community.”

Harwood added, “The kindergarten tours allowed our youngest community members to interact with farm animals, machinery and crops. Our team created mini lessons around the farm, from a tractor tour, to a lesson on the plant parts we eat and the different products we get from animals.”

The wagon ride and time to interact with the calves were a hit. Avon CSD teacher Kristen Vetrano said, “We look forward to making this one of our yearly trips and can't wait to return next year!”

Emilie Mulligan said, “We had a great few days welcoming students to our farm! With the help of great volunteers and well thought out lessons for the students to learn, we hope they took at least one new exciting piece of knowledge home with them. The excitement and genuine curiosity that the students and even their teachers and chaperones showed through their great questions made it fun for us to share all about dairy farming and why we love what we do.”

Special thanks to the following presenters for high school tours: Dave Shuts and Joe Murphy - DeLaval, Maddie Simmons - Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Erich Estes - Cargill, Brian Bliss - Lamb & Webster, Art Graves - Dow Agrosciences, Jessica Dueppengiesser - ACS, Claire Mulligan - ABS Global, and Dr. Tom Wakefield - Perry Veterinary Clinic. Galit Poole - Standard Dairy Consultants, Mike Howlett - Howlett Farms, and Kirsty Northrop - Lawnel Farms also served as presenters for the Kindergarten tours.

Mulligan Farms will be hosting Farm Fest on Sept. 14, providing another opportunity to educate the community about the agriculture industry.

To learn more about the Cornell Cooperative Extension Ag in the Classroom Program, contact Bernadette Harwood at 585-991-5420 | 585-335-1752 or beh53@cornell.edu.