by Bob Grawey
Sherburne County commissioners have approved a request by the USDA Farm Service Agency to erect a permanent building on the Sherburne County fairgrounds in Elk River.
The building will house the popular “Little Farm Hands” program seen in many counties’ fairs and at the Minnesota State Fair every year.
Jean Johnson is volunteering her time and effort to get the project off the ground. She says the approximately 40-by-40-foot barn-shaped structure will have various 10-by-10-foot stalls inside the building, also shaped like barns.
Kids age 3 to 10 will be able to walk through barn door openings to learn about the food they eat and where it comes from.
One stall will feature honey bees where kids can learn all about the bees and the food they produce.
Another stall will have all things dairy. Kids can learn about food produced from dairy cows and even try their hand in a simulated milking experience.
Chickens will be featured in yet another stall.
Johnson says children will have the chance to not only learn where their food comes from, but the route it takes from the farm to their table.
She will also work to get the four area farm implement businesses to donate pedal tractors and other kid-sized farm implements so they can experience that part of farm life.
Cost for the “Little Farm Hands” building is projected between $50,000 and $60,000.
Johnson is working on getting bids out for the project and hopes it will begin this year.
Agriculture-based companies will be sought for donations, Johnson says, for a June 1, 2012, completion date.
The building is to be located just east of the commerce building on the Sherburne County fairgrounds.
by Bob Grawey