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Farm Day lessons for students in Yuba-Sutter
Twinkie, named for her cream and white colors, was there. So were Charles and Sam, the 1,500-pound 12-year-olds whose next stop is San Francisco. And Tango, the 6-year-old from Chico State who never stops learning.
Farm Day — held Friday at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds — included the palomino paint quarter horse with the distinct colors, the two Texas Longhorns from Flying U Rodeo in Yuba County headed for the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace and the border collie Tango, who showed sheep where to go.
"He and I are always learning," dog trainer Rick Ruddick said of Tango.
The Stock Dog Club of the College of Agriculture at Chico State University promotes training canines for use in the livestock industry.
More than 1,200 third-graders from Yuba City, Live Oak and elsewhere learned about Tango and other aspects of farm life at the event hosted by the Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau.
Megan Luis of the Luis Dairy in Marysville stood at the fairgrounds next to Hailey, a 5-year-old, 1,600-pound Holstein dairy cow, and said students know little about such animals.
"I would say 99 percent of these kids have never seen a cow," Luis said of the up-close look Farm Day provided youths.
Sutter County has a single dairy, she said, while four are in Yuba County, past the community college. Students used to visit Luis Dairy, but budget cutbacks in education ended field trips to the site, Luis said.
She told students about how much milk Hailey produces.
"You know the gallon jug of milk in your refrigerator?" Luis asked. "She can fill one of those 10 times a day."
Megan Osbourn, membership coordinator for the Farm Bureau, said this rural region still leaves gaps in agricultural knowledge.
"The kids who live in Yuba City or Marysville — a lot of them aren't as connected as you might think," Osbourn said of youths links to farm life.
Third-grader Paige Podesta liked the chance to see the palomino quarter horse Twinkie in action as the animal worked her way around traffic cones and a blue tarp that simulates water.
"I just kind of like horses in general," Podesta explained.
Larry Foley, a member of the Sutter County Sheriff's Posse, who works with search and rescue and rides Twinkie, described horses as herd animals.
"They have a lot of human qualities," he said, noting Twinkie nuzzling with another horse as an example.
The Texas longhorns surprised third-grader Angel Garcia.
"They're kind of nice," she said. "They're not that aggressive."
Ali Emswiler, a third-grader at Tierra Buena Elementary in the Yuba City Unified School District, liked the 1,500-pound longhorns as well — along with the 1-inch mosquito fish that were part of the display by rice growers.