Farm Fair at Brainard Ranch hosts 1,200 fourth graders - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Farm Fair at Brainard Ranch hosts 1,200 fourth graders

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BELGRADE - Over the last three days, 1,200 fourth graders from all around the Gallatin Valley have found a new classroom at the Brainard Ranch, where the lessons range from crops to cows.

The message is about Montana's cultural heritage, says Farm Fair host Ed Brainard.

"They get to see things here that if it wasn't for this they'd never get to see," Brainard says. "They find out where a lot of their food comes from. We have a water cycle, they learn that water comes out of the sky and goes into the ground and goes back into the sky."

Brainard has hosted the Gallatin Valley Farm Fair for its 14-year run. He says one of his favorite parts is seeing former fourth graders return as volunteers, members of 4-H, or even with a class of their own.

Hands-on experience is key at the Farm Fair. Students get to pet animals, go on carriage rides and even make their own ice cream.

It's a special event only for fourth graders. Farm Fair Chair Patti Soares says it takes an entire school year's worth of planning to make it happen.

This year set a new record for attendance, a sign of how rapidly schools in the valley are growing.

"This valley is just exploding, and we can feel the growing pains the schools are going through, because it's causing growing pains for our program," Soares says. "But we're going to do it as long as we can for as many kids as we can."

With more and more fourth graders each year. Brainard worries he may run out of space for the Farm Fair.

But he says he'll keep going to spread agriculture education and apprecation through the next generation.

"It's just important that we let people know where a lot of this stuff comes from and how important agriculture is to their livelihood," he says.

Click here to check out the Farm Fair's website and learn more.

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