By Shala Watson

School is out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean learning has to stop. And the farm is a good place to continue that education.

Because agriculture teaches you about life. The fields and pastures give you room to grow, and you can learn lessons that can’t always be taught in a classroom.

The rural way of life can provide a variety of lessons. Like these five…

1. Responsibility: Sun up to sun down, there’s always work to be done. Checking the chicken coop for fresh eggs. Making sure the horses have feed and the cows have hay. Fixing fence or planting and harvesting crops. These farm chores can teach the value of responsibility. Learning this at a young age can pay dividends into the future.

2. Better understand science: Agriculture also provides kids with a better understanding of science. On the farm, you can learn how crops grow and the role our soil plays. You can even learn about genetics!

3. Apply math skills: Yes, you will use math outside the classroom! Calculating the amount of fertilizer a crop needs, the proper amount of antibiotics for a sick animal or creating a budget for feed are just a few examples. Those math skills can directly impact a farm’s ability to be profitable.

4. Business skills: Good business skills are essential to running a farm. A lot happens in the office—sorting through paperwork, record keeping and marketing on social media. Business skills learned on the farm can give kids the boost they need to be successful at applying for scholarships, colleges and even prioritizing projects.

5. Thinking through tasks: Being able to think through a task and problem solving can also be the biggest lesson kids can learn. Many challenges arise on the farm. Not enough water for crops and livestock. Shortage of tillable land. High seed and feed prices. Bad weather damaging crops and equipment. The way these challenges are handled can impact the success of the farm. Keeping a level head, evaluating the problem and finding the best solution can make the difference between success and failure.

On the farm, you also learn patience, the true meaning of family and how to change the oil in your vehicle.

If you didn’t grow up on a farm, you can visit one. Meet with the local farmers in your area and ask if you can visit. I bet they’d enjoy your company for the day and teaching you about their role in agriculture.

After all, we never truly stop learning. And agriculture has much to teach us.

Shala Watson

Staff Writer

I was born and raised in the East Texas Pineywoods. I don’t have a traditional agricultural background. But I’m inspired by the hard working men and women who produce our food and fiber. I’m a small town girl just trying to bring a fresh perspective to ag journalism.

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