(LE MARS, IA) - Every year, the Le Mars, Iowa Chamber of Commerce organizes an elementary school ag tour for students to check out four different farms in Northwest Iowa.
A fourth grade class from Gehlen Catholic School visited a sheep farm in Le Mars along with three other farms.
Mrs. Hattinger's fourth grade class listened closely to farmer Mark Loutsch as he explained how he raises sheep.
"That is what lambs eat until they get about 140 pounds," said Mark Loutsch, co-owner of Mark and Lori Loutsch Farm.
That was the group's first stop during their farm tour. It was a chance for them to learn all about owning sheep and the llamas that protect those wooly animals.
"Even though we're in a rural Iowa, the kids still are removed from the farm and the farming operation more than a person would think. So it makes me happy to see that they're interested at the age that they are in," said Loutsch.
Some of these students have visited farms before. Some even live on them, but they definitely have more to learn.
"When they have babies and that they only get shaved once a year," said fourth grader, Lillian Kessenich.
"It means a lot that we teach them that we respect the livestock and that we're growing their food and it's more than just their food," said Loutsch.
Sheep aren't just to eat. They're in all sorts of everyday products.
"The hide of your, baseball, the outside is the hide of the sheep," said Lori Loutsch, Mark's wife.
"It was just interesting to hear that all of the items were on the table were made out of sheep," said fourth grader, Mark Macklem.
Their eyes were glued to one site: when they watched the farmer shear the sheep.
"It looked weird," said Kessenich.
"I've never seen a sheep get sheared before and it looks weird and cool and at the same time," said Macklem.
That student even got to feel the sheep wool for himself.
"It was scratchy when I put my arms up. It was scratchy but it felt good at the same time," explained Macklem.
With all they saw and heard, they said it was worth the trip.
"Maybe all of us will live on a farm someday. No one ever knows it," said Macklem.
Three other schools toured the sheep farm as well. They also visited a dairy, beef and pig farm, too.