University of Maryland Extension

24th Annual Children's Farm Tour

24th Annual Children's Farm Tour
Discovering Where Milk Comes From On The Farm
Image Credit: 
Jessie Flores, UME Agriculture FEA

Maryland agriculture is vital to the long-term health of the state's economy, environment and quality of life. Maryland farm land also provides a wide variety of fresh, nutritious food that is available locally, thereby reducing the environmental, fuel, and nutritional costs of food transportation.  To counter development pressure and to strengthen our regional food system, it is in our best interest to keep farmers farming the land. The University of Maryland Extension (UME) Wicomico County Office has supported Maryland agriculture by annually hosting the 4-H Children’s Farm Tour for the last 24 years, with the mission to increase community awareness of agricultural science and how important agriculture is to our lives and the economy of the Eastern Shore and Maryland.

This 4-H Children’s Farm Tour hosts between 2000-3000 youth and adults from the Eastern Shore over a three day period in May each year. The Farm Tour is hosted by our last existing dairy farm in Wicomico County, Beechnut Dairy Farm owned and operated by the Harcum Family. This family has hosted this event for over 20 years and has always encouraged the positive exposure of farming and agriculture to schools and families.

This is a free event, thanks to generosity of Blan Harcum's Family and Beechnut Farms. Forty volunteers and nineteen sponsors where from the following organizations: University of Maryland Extension; Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester County Extension Offices; Wicomico County Master Gardeners; Wicomico County Farm Bureau; Land O’Lakes; MAMMA; Natural Resources and Conservation Service; Maryland Department of Agriculture; Farm Service Agency; Wicomico County Health Department; Sharptown Lions Club; Rockawalkin Ruritan Clubs; Farmers & Planters; Wicomico Farm & Home Show; Perdue Farms; and Mid Atlantic Farm Credit.

The Farm Tour hosts daycares, private schools and public schools from the entire eastern shore, which allows those from neighboring counties and cities to see the great things our community has to offer. This year a total of 41 daycares or schools attended bringing 2,150 children, and approximately 600 adults. The event is designed to help young children gain an up close view, touch and smell of real agriculture and why it’s so important to our lives. The quality of life in our community is improved as youth and adults are exposed to agriculture and agriculture related hands on stations during the Farm Tour, which encourages them to become stewards for agriculture and to develop an appreciation of local agriculture productions. A wonderful benefit to this event is the number of adults who attend this trip as a chaperone, and often leave educated and enlightened on how a dairy production functions as well as, the other benefits local farms play in the value of our community as a whole. It is always wonderful to hear the gracious comments that returning teachers and parents offer about the experiences they walk away with after visiting such a unique educational opportunity and how their perception of agriculture has been enlightened and improved.

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