Headline July 17, 2014

''' O'' AMERICA ! : 



BEFORE growing up to become farmers, a startling number of America's rural students/kids  are taught  how to build rockets.

Every year rural skies fill with  mini-missiles  built by children. The largest fly hundreds of feet, carrying altimeters, parachutes and payloads of eggs. 

Baseball diamonds are popular popular launch sites, as are alfalfa fields: the latter tend to be large and, compared with the other crops, alfalfa tolerates fair bit of trampling. All this tinkering and swooshing explains a lot about American farms.

One student/youth organisation lies behind many thousands of rural rocket launches: the  4-H club.  It's an acronym, derived from a pledge involving:
Head - Heart - Hands - Health.

Among city slickers,  4-H  is not well known. Yet its existence and its history reveal a great deal about America's distinctive views of farming and food.

For many, the name conjures up a single image: a farmer's child at a country fair, clad in best blue jeans and cowboy boots, gravely leading livestock round a show-ring.

Lots of club members do rear and show animals, it is true: one of the sights of an American summer is watching an  11-year-old  at a state fair, guiding a half-toone steer past  4-H  judges.

But  4-H was born to spread hard sciences as well as shape character. Some  2m children/students  attend the group's club and camps, while millions more follow  4-H  programmes in schools.

A big push is under way to reach more urban children, with schemes such as classroom egg incubators so that  eight-year olds learn that:

''Chicken doesn't come from Macdonald's''

In farm states such as Nebraska, the organisation reaches one child in three.

4-H clubs and camps form the youth wing of a partnership between government and public universities financed by gifts of federal land, dating back to the civil war and set up to transmit new technologies into every county in the union.

The Nebraska State Fair,  -held recently, displayed a pavilion of  4-H projects. Some entries may be found at Fairs in many countries: jars of jams, prize-winning vegetables and wood work.

But there is a striking emphasis on science and business, too. Alongside long shelves of model rockets, entries included a display animal-eye dissection and statistical analysis of poultry diseases.

Eleven year old student  Cale Urmacher, a fourth-generation 4-H member, gave a robotics demonstration. Student Becca Laub, outlined her plans for a tomato-and fish farming enterprise and her ambition to study engineering.

People think farmers are uneducated, she scoffed. Her father has an economics degree and uses it to track market trends. Also, thanks, to global positioning gadgetry:

One of the family tractors can drive itself, which is  ''pretty,pretty cool''.

Rivals in other lands have sniffy theories about why America,  -such a rich country,  is so good at producing cheap food.

They paint American farmers as pawns of giant agri-corporations, bullied by market forces to produce genetically modified  Frankenfoods.

One highly respected author recalls,  -the face pulled by a French agriculture minister:

The good minister mocked America's  "aseptic "  farm produce.

Foreign rivals  -jealousies-  are right about the power of market forces of America, but wrong to see its farmers as passive victims.

Americans have thought differently about agriculture for a long, long time, -and not by accident.

Settled in a rush of migration, peaking in the  1880s,  Nebraska's prairies were parcelled out to German, Czech, Danish, Swedish, and even Luxemburg pioneers.

From the start the plan was the plan was to convert  Old World homesteaders to the scientific ways of the  New World.

As the system developed,  Congress sent county agents from universities to teach menfolk modern farming and their wives such skills as tomato-canning.

In the  1920s educational trains trundled through the prairies, pulling boxcars of animals and demonstration crops.

At each stop hundreds would gather for public lectures.

The American agriculture may be very different from the European variety, -but in context of the developing world,  -time and catastrophic needs compete.

The one and only strategy for the developing world to get developed: is the platform of agriculture. They have to get  ''outstanding"  in that field. In competing demands, each critical for survival, the margin of errors go razor, razor thin.

"Heed while you can, O' Sires!"   

The Honour and Serving of the Post continues. Thank you for reading. And just don't miss the next one.

With respectful dedication to the President of the United States of America : Barrack H Obama and First Family.

With respectful dedication to the great people of the United States Of America. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"' The Rocking Sciences "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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