What Does a Farmer Do?

Let's Explore Farm

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Let's Explore Farm

With the help of Wanda, students learn what a farm is, how we get food from farms, and what it would be like to live in a farm community. See what it is like to be a farmer and the many things they do throughout the day and through the changing seasons. Then go back in time to see what farming was like before modern equipment was developed.. learn about the many special kinds of farms around today… see where milk comes from, go to an orchard and a vineyard, see how nuts and vegetables are grown, visit a poultry farm, and even visit a fish farm.

Explore a farm and how farmers and animals live on them.

  1. Students will know that a farm is a place where animals are raised and crops are grown. Because farms need a lot of room to grow crops and raise animals, they are usually away from big cities.
  2. Students will recognize some of the buildings and equipment that are found on farms.
    1. Barn: A barn is where animals sleep and keep warm in the winter. Also, hay is stored in barns.
    2. Silo: A silo is usually a tall, cylindrical building for grain storage. This grain is used to feed livestock.
    3. Shed: Sheds are used to shelter farm equipment.
    4. Tractors and Trucks: Tractors and trucks are used to move heavy items including machines, tools, livestock, produce, fertilizer, and seed.
    5. Plough: A plough is a very important machine used to soften the soil in preparation for planting in the spring.
  3. Students will understand the farmer's role on the farm.
    1. Animals: Farm animals require a great deal of care. Farmers must make sure the animals are fed and kept in a healthy/clean environment every day. During the winter, the cold temperatures can freeze the animal's drinking water, so the farmers must make sure it is heated. In the spring baby animals are born, and they require extra special attention.
    2. Crops: Farmers must perform many tasks in order to have a successful harvest. First, farmers must prepare the soil with a plough. Then the farmers must plant the seeds. Once the seeds are sown, they will grow into plants; these plants require water to live and grow, so farmers have to build and maintain sprinkler systems and irrigation ditches. Finally, the mature crops must be harvested and sold to stores. It is important to understand that each of the above tasks is performed on a very large scale (i.e., farms and backyard gardens are not the same).
    3. Farm Maintenance: When farmers are not busy with the animals and/or the crops, they must work on the farm's buildings and machines so they are ready to be used. Note that many farms employ people to help complete the necessary tasks.
  4. Students will realize that as the seasons change, so do the jobs of the farmers.
    1. Spring: In the spring farmers plant new crops and take care of baby animals.
    2. Summer: In the summer farmers care for their crops as they grow.
    3. Fall: In the fall farmers harvest their crops and sell them (note that some crops are harvested during other seasons).
    4. Winter: In the winter the farmer prepares for the spring by fixing buildings and equipment and planning the next year's crops.
  5. Students will know that farms are very important to society. Many years ago, families grew their own food and kept animals for meat. Today, however, most families don't produce their own food. So farmers must grow the crops and raise the animals to feed everyone.
  6. Students will know about the small farms that operated long ago. Many people used to live on small farms run by one farmer and the farmer's family. The farmers usually grew just enough food and raised just enough animals for their families, instead of selling the food and animals to the market. The farmers may have grown some wheat for bread and corn for corn meal and animal feed; and they may have had a few cows for milk and meat, a couple of sheep for meat and/or wool, and some chickens for eggs and meat.
  7. Students will understand that today most large farms specialize in a certain product. Some of these special farms include:
    1. Dairy Farms: A dairy farms raises cows for milk. The milk is either used for drinking, or it is used in the production of butter, cheese, and ice cream.
    2. Orchards: An orchard is a special farm where fruit or nut trees grow.
    3. Vineyards: Grapes grow in a vineyard. Some vineyards may produce grapes for eating, while others grow grapes for juice or wine.
    4. Vegetable Farms: Usually vegetable farms just grow one type of vegetable, like tomatoes or lettuce.
    5. Poultry Farms: Poultry farms raise birds that used for their eggs or meat.
  8. Students will know how food moves from the farm to the table. Many farm products are sold directly to markets, where people can by them. Other products are sold to companies that process them into different forms. For example, cotton is sold to companies that turn it into thread and fabric. The thread and fabric are then sold to companies that turn them into clothing. The clothes are then sold to markets where people can buy them.

  1. Before viewing the video

    1. Ask the students to tell you what is on a farm. Make lists under three headings: Animals, Plants, and Machines. Watch for these as you view the video.
  2. After viewing the video

    1. Farm Visit: Having all the information learned in the video would provide an excellent background for a field trip to a real farm. Contact local farms and ranches to make arrangements.
    2. Tracing the journey from the farm to the lunch bag: Using construction paper and paints or crayons, have each student draw a diagram that shows how a specific food ended up in his/her lunch bag. Ask the students to keep it simple. For example, bread has many ingredients (flour, eggs, sugar, etc); the student should chose one ingredient and show how it became part of the bread that was part of the sandwich he/she ate for lunch. The teacher should help the students if they get stuck. The goal is to understand that food does not just come from the refrigerator or pantry.
    3. The four seasons and the farm poster: Provide each student with a large piece of white paper (larger than 8 1/2 x 11) and some crayons. Ask them to fold the paper into four boxes of equal size (each box will represent 1 season). Have them draw a picture describing something that occurs on the farm for each of the four seasons.

Crops  Farmer  Harvest  Irrigate