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Farm Day helps educate kids first-hand about agriculture
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Amanda Gardner, an agriculture instructor at Sierra High, helps introduce Mossdale School students to plant life during Tuesday’s Farm Day. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
Leo Omlin is a regular come Farm Day.

During the years, he’s brought his Texas longhorn steer and llama to various agriculture-related events throughout the area, including several in Manteca Unified.

“But Leo just couldn’t say ‘no’ about coming to Mossdale School (in Lathrop),” said first-grade teacher and Farm Day organizer Sharon Silveira. “He’s my neighbor.”

Omlin, in turn, was on hand to answer questions by students about his animals.

“Of course, they’ve asked about the horns (of the steer),” he said. “They’ve also asked if the llama spits.”

For the second straight year, Silveira was able to put together Farm Day at Mossdale School on Tuesday. She also received some much-needed support from the school’s PTA and the Sierra High Agriculture Department.

Farm Day was made available for the 617 youngsters – kindergarten- through- eighth- grade students – at the school. Many also had a chance to observe Sierra High FFA instructor Pat Ariaz groom and shear sheep, pet some of the farm animals, meet a Dairy Princess, catch a close-up glimpse of the large tractors, and engage in seeds and plants.

“I thought of this last year,” said Sierra High Ag teacher Amanda Gardner. “I thought the kids might enjoy learning about plants and seeds while taking a hands-on approach.”

For the K-4 youngsters, they had a chance to get dirty while handling their own lima bean plants.

 “They learned about giving water to the plant to make it sprout and making sure it gets plenty of sunlight,” Gardner said.

The older students came away with their own flowering plant to take home.

As for Silveira, she was pleased with the added attractions of Farm Day compared to that of a year ago. “I’m hoping we can improve on it by adding something new every year,” she said.