TCCHS students learn how to cultivate crops - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

TCCHS students learn how to cultivate crops

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – Some Thomas County Central High School students are spending their summer in a corn field.

The students are part of the school's Future Farmers of America and Agriculture Department.

During the school year, they learned how to cultivate sweet corn crops. Now, they're selling it and learning a few lessons along the way.

As temperatures soared into the high eighties Monday morning, Thomas County Central high school student, Cole Pendergast, kept his eye on the prize.

"It is HOT in the summertime. It's backbreaking work. It's time consuming. But it's all worth it in the end. When you can go out here and pick your own corn and go home tonight and enjoy it the A/C."

Pendergast is his school's FFA President. Thanks to the Ag department's hands-on training, he now understands exactly what goes into putting produce on a table.

"It's one thing just to buy it at a store," continues Pendergast. "But to know that they grew it themselves and picking it and cooking it, it's just the fact that they grew it on their own and aren't totally dependent on the store. And if it ever comes down to it, they could make their own."

But harvesting corn is harder than it might seem.

When the harvesters are looking for a good ear of corn to pick, they're searching for this black fringe. Purple or white fringe means the corn isn't ready.

"We try to look for the best looking ears. Like this, you just bend and twist and that's going to be about the perfect size right there."

And it could even be dangerous. The shade provided by the tall stalks of corn make the field an ideal resting place for snakes.

"I try not to think about it or I won't be back in," Pendergast explains. "There's always the possibility. If there is, you'll hear loud screaming and me running out of the field."

But Pendergast says the hands-on training is worth the risk. The students also learn business and communication skills in addition to farming.

"I'll greet them, talk to them, get to know them. Ask them how much they'd like, go out there and harvest it for them, come back and count it out. Load it up for them and collect the profit."

And customers appreciate the students' hard work.

"You're getting a good value out here," says a happy Donald McMillan. "You're getting good, fresh corn. I'm going right back home to shuck it, put it in the skillet."

Getting farm fresh corn while helping ag students cultivate their careers.

All the proceeds from the sweet corn sales will go to the Thomas County Central FFA Chapter. Organizers say they will continue selling until the end of the month or until the corn is picked.

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