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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Flat Aggie Visits Northwestern Kentucky

This is the final Flat Aggie report for this school year.  I am kind of sad, but excited that at least a few of the teacher's are ready to do it again and one class wants me to talk to their teacher for next year to see if they can keep following Flat Aggie.  That makes me happy that they actually like learning about farms and where their food comes from.  If you are a farmer and would like to host Flat Aggie next year, send me a message.  If you are a teacher who would like to use Flat Aggie in your class, send me a message, too.  I would love to work with you. -KFM

Hello again Mrs. Leiker’s class! I’ve been spending lots of time in northwestern Kentucky with Daniel and Danielle Hayden! Kentucky is very different than Kansas, everything is very green and there are lots of hills.

As soon as I arrived, the Haydens’ started showing me around. Daniel manages his family’s beef and poultry farm (that means cows and chickens). Since it is spring, baby cows — which are called calves — were being born. I got to help Daniel put tags in the newborn calves ears. Farmers put tags in ears so that they can identify which baby belongs to which momma and other important information.
 
Since I had already visited a cattle ranch, Daniel and Danielle taught me a lot about chickens. Hayden Farms has four poultry houses, each house holds 25,000 chickens apiece, so that’s a 100,000 chickens! One thing that surprised me was how big each house one, even though there were a lot of chickens, they still had lots of room to run around and chase each other.
 
The chickens arrive at the farm right after they hatch, when they are only about 40 minutes old, they stay at the farm for six weeks until they are grown. When the chickens are babies the houses are temperature regulated to stay 94°F, but when they are full grown the houses are regulated to stay at 66°F. This is done to make sure they are always at a temperature where they are most comfortable.
 
After the chickens leave, Daniel and the other guys that work on the farm scrape out the floor, remove all the fans and wash them, sanitize the entire inside of each house and make any necessary repairs.
 
While I was in Kentucky I also learned that there are jobs in agriculture besides being a farmer. For example, Danielle is an agriculture writer and photographer. One morning during my time with the Haydens’ we took a three-hour drive to the opposite side of the state so Danielle could interview a family that runs a thoroughbred and Hereford cattle farm.
California Chorme's Granddam (grandma) with this year's foal.
 
Thoroughbred horses are used mostly for racing. In Kentucky, horse racing is very popular. The week we visited the racehorse farm was a special week for the state, because it just so happened to be the week of the Kentucky Derby, one of the most famous horse races. The grandmother of the horse that won this year — California Chrome— lives at the farm we visited! I found out racehorses are very pampered, which is understandable since the owners of the farm said the horses ranged in price from $2,500 to $975,000. Yikes!!

While I was in Kentucky, Daniel and Daniel were in the process of buying their first farm. Eventually someday their farm will be joined together with Daniel’s family’s farm, but for now they’re just starting out. I went with them for closing day and hung out while they signed a bunch of paperwork.

They were really excited about finally owning their own farm, but I was really excited about the humongous bowl of Tootsie Rolls!
 
I was sad to leave, but excited to come back to you all and share my exciting adventure in the Bluegrass State. Someday I hope to get a chance to visit Kentucky again and learn new things about agriculture in that state.