‘Day on the Farm’ builds ties with rural life

Mildred Martens of Hesston plans to hear her grandson squeal as he catches a pig Aug. 18. She also hopes to capture a picture of another grandson’s grin as he rides in a miniature stagecoach, and she’s going to call the ducks “peelie, peelie,” just like she did when she grew up on a farm.

Martens and her grandchildren, along with an anticipated 500 other people, will be enjoying the sixth annual “Day on the Farm” at the farm of Maynard Knepp and Carol Duerksen near Goessel.

The event is sponsored by Agri-Urban, a program of the Mennonite Church USA, and seeks to build connections between grandparents, parents and grandchildren, and between urban and rural families.

“I want my grandchildren to have the experience of what it was like to live on a farm,” Martens said. “They’ve had stories read to them, but that day, they get to actually touch the animals. Plus, the feeling out there-the openness of the fields and the freedom for them to run and explore-the whole event is sort of like a rural Exploration Place (the new science discovery center in Wichita).”

As in the past, this year’s Day on the Farm will feature goat milking, butter making, horseback rides, pig catching, stagecoach rides, a guard llama demonstration, rope making, branding iron demonstrations, wagon rides, and petting a variety of animals.

And, if all goes as planned, two sows will be delivering baby pigs “on cue.”

“The sow giving birth is real popular,” Maynard Knepp said. “People are so intrigued with it, and even after the Day on the Farm, they ask us how many she had and how the little pigs are doing.

“We bred two sows so they would be due Aug. 18,” Knepp said. “I’ll give them some shots to help the process along, and we hope they’ll deliver right on time.”

Day on the Farm is a fund-raiser for Agri-Urban, which raises money for several Mennonite organizations, including Bethel College and Western District Conference.

The concept behind Agri-Urban is that farmers and livestock feeders donate labor, facilities and feed or pasture; and for urbanites to give money to buy the animals and some or all of the feed.

Day on the Farm was born out of a desire to connect people, animals, and a rural setting for a fun, educational time together. Nearly everything for the event is donated, and there is no charge for the event.

A noon meal of Hillsboro smoked sausage and all the trimmings will be served for the price of a donation, but those who plan to attend are encouraged to get a free ticket so meal planners know how many to expect.

Tickets are available by calling Jim Gehring at 620-345-8605, or from most Mennonite churches in the area.

Day on the Farm will take place from 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. at the Knepp/Duerksen farm located on Holly Road: three miles north, four miles east, and three-fourths mile north of Goessel; or four miles south, three west and three-fourths mile north of Hillsboro. Signs will be posted.

For additional information, call Carol Duerksen at 620-367-8432; or e-mail willowspringdowns@juno. com.

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