Kids and animals team up at Mercer County farm camp

It's a dog's life at the Mercer County Fairgrounds in Aledo on Tuesday. That's where border collies practice herding while second graders learn something new in this outdoor classroom.

"It's kind of great to get out here and learn more about farming and things," said Anna Frieden, 8.

More than 200 kids like Anna enjoyed the sessions. Since 1996, the Mercer County Farm Bureau and Soil and Conservation district hosted nearly 4,000 youngsters at the ACE Camp.

Joyce Kadel brought her miniature horse, Showbiz. Kids also got a hands-on lesson from Showbiz' two-week old baby.

"This is like grandma's farm when we were kids," she recalled. "That's what we want."

While most of these kids live in rural areas, many don't know anything about farming. That makes an imaginary spin in Dick McMeekan's vintage tractor even more interesting.

"We've got a lot of information," he said. "This is information kids need to know more about -- where does this food come from?"

From unusual alpacas to friendly sheep and a pretty horse, rotating stations help kids to get the most from this adventure.

"Once you grow up, you'll know all this stuff about farming," concluded Reese Strause, 8.

Lessons about land and life that they'll always remember.


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