SOUTH HAVEN | It might be a little too early for Tom Hannon to get out in his fields to plant soybeans and corn.
But for second-graders at Saylor Elementary School on Thursday, it wasn't too early to learn about area agriculture. Hannon, a Morgan Township farmer, gave them a lesson in planting and harvesting the two most vital crops in Porter County.
The lesson was part of the Porter County Soil and Water Conservation's Sow, Grow and Know program presented to school children.
The idea was to give youngsters an eye into farming and its importance to the community.
"This is the time of year we get ready to plant crops, but this year it is kind of cold. We haven't gotten into the fields yet," Hannon told the youngsters. He explained the planting process and told them that much of his crop, especially soybeans, makes it from the fields of Porter County to China.
The youngsters planted their own little gardens as part of the lesson, dropping soybean and corn seeds into a terrarium, which they took back to their classrooms to watch grow. They also had to make predictions about when and how the seeds would sprout.
The second lesson gave the youngsters two cups of cocoa — one containing a soybean product — that they mixed and sniffed to determine any differences between the two.
One was more liquid, the other more solid after the experiment. That, said PC Soil and Water Conservation educator Michelle Benson, was to show that soybean products are used in cocoa mixes to help make them smoother and easier to blend.
Teacher Linda Rodenbarger said the program fits right in with the second grade curriculum as students study plants, soil and water cycles in science and read about growing plants.