1,300 City Schools third-graders experience MTSU f...

1,300 City Schools third-graders experience MTSU farm life [+VIDEO]

Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School third-grader Taylor Vandenburgh did what many of her peers chose not to do: She scooped up some silage used to feed MTSU dairy cows, just to get a whiff of it.

Other students petted cows and calves, drank chocolate milk from the cows, made a craft out of dried beans and yarn, and learned about tractors, honey from bees and other aspects of the university’s working farm in Lascassas, Tennessee.

About 1,300 Murfreesboro City Schools’ third-graders visited the university’s Experiential Learning and Research Center — the farm and dairy — Wednesday, May 17, as part of the third “Farm2School” field trip in as many years.

The farm experience is part of a partnership between Murfreesboro City Schools and MTSU.

In addition to Mitchell-Neilson, other schools participating on the warm, breezy day included Black Fox, Bradley Academy, Cason Lane Academy, Discovery School, Erma Siegel, Hobgood, John Pittard, Northfield, Overall Creek, Reeves-Rogers and Scales elementary schools.

Telling school children about tractors

MTSU senior agribusiness major Stephen Lamb talks about the tiller and power take-off, or PTO, drive shaft on a tractor with third-graders during the Murfreesboro City Schools “Farm2School” visit May 17 at the MTSU Farm and Dairy in Lascassas, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

The children visited information stations on tractor safety, educational crafts, a garden area, a pig display, honey bees, and making butter and chocolate milk.

Mitchell-Neilson’s Jasmine Dykes, 9, enjoyed “making butter and petting the cows” and added that her butter adventure was that “I got to shake it.” She also praised the MTSU Dairy’s renowned chocolate milk: “It was good.”

MTSU and city schools staff members coordinated the four-hour event, and MTSU students and staffers shared information about the dairy, garden and life on a farm.

MTSU and Murfreesboro City Schools have collaborated to bring more than 35,000 students for five Education Days at MTSU women’s basketball games and team up for many student-teaching events and educational and academic endeavors through the years.

Murfreesboro City Schools participates in the national Farm2School Network program.

To learn more about the MTSU agriculture program, visit or or call 615-898-2523.

— Randy Weiler (

Using yarn and dried beans to make a craft

Murfreesboro City Schools third-graders use yarn and dried beans to make a craft during the “Farm2School” visit May 17 at the MTSU Farm and Dairy in Lascassas, Tenn.

Third-graders from one of the Murfreesboro City Schools get a cup of cream to begin the butter-making process May 17 during the “Farm2School” visit at the MTSU Farm and Dairy.