COTTAGE GROVE, WI, Nov. 9, 2018 – Tractors and combines rolling across the fields in November is part of the scenic fall landscape of central Wisconsin, yet for most kids the view is only seen from a car window, not the window of the cab. Giving young kids the opportunity to see the view from the farmer’s perspective is a joint effort between D&D Olson Farms, Deerfield Elementary School and Landmark Services Cooperative.
For the past 18 years, the Olsons have taken a pause during harvest to provide first graders a view from the field, as they work to bring in the harvest. The students’ joy and excitement expressed during the day fuels the Olson’s motivation to keep the annual traditional going.
“Watching the students’ faces as they patiently wait their turn to ride and their excitement as they wave to their friends from the cab is incredibly rewarding,” Dale Olson says. “We have done this for several years and we have had students come back to us years later and tell us how memorable their day on the farm was. For many, it is the only time they have been around farm machinery. We hope it makes a small difference in the way they view farming when they see us in the fields this time of year.”
Watching the corn stalks fall in front of them and feeling the rumbling of the combine over the field, makes bridging the experience with classroom activities an easy transition for the teachers.
“We extend a huge thank you from Deerfield Elementary first graders and their teachers to D&D Olson Farms, Landmark Services Cooperative and many other sponsors that donated their time and resources for our first graders to combine corn,” expresses Elizabeth Tebon-Moerke, first grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary School. “The excitement and smiles from all the students, teachers and sponsors says it all. Again, thank you to all of those that continue to make this field trip possible.”
The Olson family looks forward to this special day with the students every year to share their passion, experience and knowledge about farming. “We hope the children get as much enjoyment from the field trip as we do,” Marlene Olson says.“They always brighten our day.” After the combine rides, the Olsons present each student with a toy combine keepsake to take home with them.
Along with the Olsons, volunteers from local farm businesses help share the farm story with the students. A message many are passionate to share. “Heading out to the field to help with the Deerfield student combine rides is my favorite day of harvest every year,” says Katie Demrow, Landmark grain marketing specialist. “As the consumer continually gets further away from the farm, helping young students get excited about farming and learning where their food comes from is something I’m very passionate about. Knowing that this may be the first and only time some of these kids will get this on-farm experience is an incredible thing to be a part of and I look forward to continuing on this great tradition the Olsons have started!”