What does a central Nebraska town like Ord have in common with New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago? They all have active FFA chapters. But when Ord takes a field trip, they really mean it.
Even in Ord, a lot of those kids don't know much about modern agriculture. But kids who once thought farmers just play in the dirt now know better.
Standing in a row of corn, freshman Halle Ramsey said, "I guess before I thought that farmers kind of, not necessarily, winged it."
"I always used to think it was easier to do all this," Mikayla Wetzel added.
A tractor's a tractor to most kids, and Wetzel, an Ord sophomore was one of them before spending time on the farm.
She said, "We come out here and they have all these trucks and tractors and different things hooked onto tractors to pick up corn."
But Wetzel and Ramsey now know that big arm is called an auger as they talk about GPS devices and soil types.
Their parents and grandparents may have grown up on farms, but even kids in an agricultural community like Ord don't think twice about farms, until they get to live it.
FFA advisor Cory Beran said, "And you would think here in central Nebraska they see stuff all the time but anywhere from kids moving in, kids living in town, parents don't necessarily work on farms, but are interested in farming. This is a great way to be able to get out here and experience it themselves."
Halle said, "There's a lot of stuff about farming that you don't know about until you're able to come out and experience it."
That word 'experience' comes up a lot with Ord's FFA chapter, which for the third year has grown its own corn.
"Instead of in the classroom, they get to be outside, using their hands, learning instead of sitting in class reading, it's just a great hands–on experience for them," Beran said.
For Mikayla Wetzel, it's opened her eyes to a future she hadn't considered before.
"Kind of want to get my own farm and live on a farm and I think it's going to be quite a bit of work, it'll be worth it, it'll be fun," she said.
Blake Bandur farms with his dad and rents his own corn field.
"I got about 80 acres," he said while driving the combine through the field
And he's not even out of high school. "I have to go back to football practice at 3:30."
Blake's a kid of few words, but his eyes light up when he spends his school day on the farm. No, he's not skipping, and yes, he's earning credit, doing what he loves.
"It's really cool," he said. "Most schools you can't do this, don't have anything like this. We're pretty fortunate here."
Beran, one of two ag teachers at the school said the kids do everything -- they plant, irrigate, and harvest. He said two students worked all summer, making sure to irrigate during the drought.
It's a partnership with the local economic development group and Green Plains Ethanol plant.
Beran, the ag teacher said, "It's just unbelievable the amount of support these kids get to be able to do the things they do."
It's not just a hobby farm, it's a money maker. Trips and scholarships are funded by the corn they sell.
Bandur, a senior, said, "We follow markets quite a bit. We actually have a chart every morning we get on the markets and write prices down and stuff."
The lessons go beyond the farm.
"They get to learn what hard work is," Beran explained.
For Halle and Mikayla, it's given them a new sense of appreciation.
Halle said, "I don't think you could ever give them enough credit. There's so many things to put into it."
Blake's grown up around it, but realizes not many kids have, and the numbers are dwindling.
He said, "There needs to be a lot more ag kids out there that want to do this stuff because there's getting to be a lot less farmers and that's one of the biggest things we need."