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For nearly three months during the summer break, Beddingfield High School’s agriculture teacher and a small group of students tend to the animals at the Beddingfield Agricultural Education Farm.
“We’ve got 20 Hampshire cross sheep. Those are ewes and lambs. We have one ram, two barrow pigs and a half-Angus and half-Holstein cow that we deal with,” said Bryant Glover, agriculture teacher at the school.
The farm has about 20 free-range chickens, but they are low-maintenance. “They scratch and they get the scraps that the pigs may drop or that the sheep may kick out,” Glover said.
During the school year, students collect the eggs and sell them.
Glover said the farm was established on 3 1/2 acres behind Beddingfield by former ag teacher Reuben Ledbetter in 2001.
“Everything you see here was built by students,” Glover said.
Glover has between 125 to 150 kids in the animal science, horticulture and ag mechanics programs during the year. Most are Future Farmers of America club members and Beddingfield 4-H Club members.
Some of those kids help out with the farm over the summer.
This week, students Grayson Howell and Rio Montes joined English teacher Leslie Pate in shearing the sheep.
“It kind of teaches you life lessons, and you get to work with friends,” Grayson said. “I enjoy it. I want to be an agriculture teacher.”
“It’s a fun experience. You don’t really get this at other schools. It’s more than just sitting in the classroom,” said Rio. “You get out here and do hands on.”
Glover said he usually sees the animals about 360 days a year.
“I am gone a few days on vacations. I will have a few kids come out and feed them for me or somebody I trust,” Glover said. “I see them from the day they are born until they leave the farm.”
“I have got really good kids. A lot of kids that are very interested in the program,” Glover said. “They might come from a farming family, but they come down here and love to see the animals and they get really attached to them.
“They know which ones are the friendly ones and which ones might get into a little bit of mischief.”