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The Manure Spreader: Farm tours

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 04 November 2016

I got roped into having a farm tour for my niece’s third-grade class. I’m not complaining about trying to educate these young minds on agriculture. I’m not venting about the “helicopter” moms wiping my entire farm down with Clorox wipes.

I’m not even mad at the school bus driver that ran over my mailbox twice. I just wish I had a fighting chance against these cute little destructive termites.



When I was in elementary school and our class went on a field trip, it was literally a field trip. The teacher would walk us out the door, point us in the direction of the watermelon field across the road and tell us to have fun. Meanwhile, she locked the door behind us and went back into the schoolhouse for an adult beverage.

The first farm tour our class went on was the longest day of my life. I rode the bus an hour-and-a-half to school only to get back on the bus for another hour-and-a-half back to my house. If someone had told me, I could have slept in.

I think there should be universal rules posted on all farms for school tours. Rule number one: Nobody wears red clothes. Although, I will admit I did enjoy watching the overweight bus driver trying to outrun a bull. That’s why I’m not upset about the mailbox.

Rule number two: Never put anything in your mouth. Yes, the farm is organic. We just castrated some bull calves this morning, and all the wipes in the world aren’t going to clean that “new jawbreaker” little Billy just picked up off the ground.

And rule number three – this rule is for all you city folk parents – when the family pet dies or disappears, quit telling the kids you sent “Mr. Wiggles” to the farm. The first thing these kids do when they get off the bus is pull on my pant leg and ask, “Mr. Tim, where is my dog Fluffy?”


I have enough things to do. I don’t need this kind of pressure. So I tell them, “Fluffy got run over by a tractor.” Maybe I’ll just tell them, “Fluffy went to a Vietnamese restaurant.” Oh, Tim! You would never.

Really? On this last farm tour, a little girl copped an attitude with me, and I nearly snapped. I finally told her, “Listen, your parents are leaving you here on the farm, and we are sending Fluffy home on the bus.” Don’t get mad at me. You parents started this lie. Don’t leave it up to me to finish it.

When I was growing up, our family pets were always missing. Whether it was a rabbit, pig, steer – or even my pet squirrel. My dad always had the same answer if I asked where they had disappeared. “We sent them to town.” They were usually in cellophane, 1- or 2-pound packages, but he didn’t lie; they were definitely in town.  end mark

Tim Moffett