'Barn box' gives children farm facts Material prepared for library system

March 25, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer CARROLL COUNTY FARM/BUSINESS

Did you know that a cow produces 50 pounds, or 6 gallons, of milk a day? And that those 6 gallons might become 5 pounds of cheese or 1 pound of ice cream?

Local preschoolers can learn these and other farm facts as the Carroll County Farm Bureau presents several "barn boxes" to the library system this week for use with the Storytime program.

"Everyone who has had a child come to Storytime knows what a good job they [the library] do with it," said Farm Bureau member Sharon Martin of the decision to place the boxes in the county public libraries.

"[The libraries] have a lot to offer the kids. We take them here and there, when a lot of times they could learn by opening a book."

The boxes, about the size of a 19-inch television set, are being presented in celebration of National Ag Week. National Ag Day was Saturday, the first day of spring.

"With spring starting, people see the farmer going out to the fields to do the planting, and it's a good time to think of where our food and fiber comes from," said Farm Bureau member Jean Knill. "Even the flowers and the shrubs people are planting are part of the agribusiness community."

One of the red, barn-shaped boxes with its contents is on display in the Westminster library's children's department. All materials were approved by the library's program director, Susan Roberts, and the library director, Martha Makosky, Ms. Martin said.

"We try to have a lot of hands-on things," Ms. Martin said, pointing to a miniature hay bale the size of 1 pound of butter. The box also includes toy farm animals; samples of soybeans, corn, barley, oats, hay and straw; and various books about agriculture selected by Farm Bureau members.

"Youngsters can comprehend more than just the noise an animal makes," Ms. Martin said. "We wanted to make sure the things they [library personnel] were telling them [preschoolers] were accurate."

For example, one book inaccurately stated that, with modern equipment, a farmer should be able to work 100 acres a day, she said.

"There is no way on God's Earth a farmer can work 100 acres a day," said Ms. Martin, who was raised on a small grain farm. She and her husband farm about 300 acres in Hampstead with grain.

"That is totally unrealistic," she said. "You might have to stop for lunch, or to refuel, or to get more grain or many other things."

Ms. Martin, a Carroll library employee for three years, said her favorite farm book for young children is "Farming" by Gail Gibbons. The colorful book features line drawings and a story that follows the life of a farm family through all the seasons.

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