By Carl Azuz, CNN
(CNN) – If you saw a school parking lot filled with tractors – and the school has already been built – you’d probably have some questions. And that’s exactly what the students at Auburndale High School in Wisconsin were hoping for on their annual “Bring Your Tractor to School” day.
“Students show great pride in their agricultural heritage and their background and where they come from,” said Mark Cournoyer, who teaches agriculture at Auburndale. In a farming community, there’s no shortage of tractors to help them do that; about 30 students were expected to participate.
The tradition is now in its fifth year. It takes the machines on a parade through town, stopping at an elementary school to impress the kids. Then, the heavy-duty procession rolls on to the high school, where the tractors are parked and the message fires up.
According to Jackie Breuch, a junior at Auburndale High and the event’s organizer, “There are a lot of farmers around, so pretty much you know a farmer, friends with a farmer.” So this, first and foremost, is a chance for current and future farmers to promote their trade.
It’s also an opportunity to discuss tractor safety, and as the machines are driven by students, you can imagine their message carrying more weight than the stuff you heard in driver’s ed.
The tractor-shaped cookies sold at lunchtime will pay for more than diesel: Participants are saving for a trip to the Washington Leadership Conference in June or July. In attendance will be the Future Farmers of America.
While that benefit won’t be tangible for a couple months yet, it could help these students – and the rest of us – for decades to come.