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Beaver Dam schools get sweet corn fresh from the farm

From left, Katelyn Lesko, Mason Ferron, Parker Posthuma, Anthony Kuenzi and Clara Gawn prepare sweet corn for lunches at Beaver Dam Middle School and High School. Beaver Dam FFA husked 1,020 ears of corn during its agriculture classes Thursday after picking it before school tat the farm of Charles Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian.

There might not be a sweeter way for students to end the first week of school at Beaver Dam High School and Middle School than enjoying an ear of corn as part of lunch today.

Beaver Dam FFA was husking and preparing the 1,020 ears of corn during its agriculture classes Thursday after picking it before school at the farm of Charles Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian.

Kavazanjian said they receive seed donated from the Monsanto/Seminis and Syngenta companies to grow corn that is donated to local food pantries and the FFA. The students have used it for a banquet in the past, but decided to feed students this year.

“There is a lot of technology in that seed,” Kavanajian said. “It protects the corn from insect and earworm damage and rust protection. It also helps with the weed control.”

Beaver Dam FFA helps pick the corn, which is donated to more than 30 food pantries, including St. Vincent de Paul in Beaver Dam, Sacred Heart Food Pantry in Horicon and Second Harvest Food Pantry in Madison.

They rotate corn, soybeans and wheat on the 2,000 acres that they farm, but save an acre or two for the donated seed.

“We get 27,000 seeds, which produce about 25,000 plants each year,” Kavanzanjian said. “That’s a lot of sweet corn.”

Kavanzanjian said she has fun using the first tractor the farm ever got in late 1940s for the couple acres of corn.

“Charlie’s family has owned the farm for 152 years,” Kavanzanjian said. “That why we have the first tractor from the late 1940s. I love connecting with the community through the donated corn. It’s a fantastic experience for everyone.”

Beaver Dam High School agricultural teacher Jonathon Ganske said he talked with representatives from Taher Food Service last week and they were happy to add the fresh vegetable to the food for the high school and middle school students.

“We thought a whole cob would be too much food for the elementary students,” Ganske said.

The students went to the farm at 6:45 a.m. on Thursday in order to gather the corn for the schools.

“It was pretty fun,” student Anthony Kuenzi said. “One field was pretty muddy and we picked the corn we could get from there. We were able to pick more big ears of corn in the second field.”

Kuenzi said that school outreach is important to Beaver Dam FFA, and they thought it would be a great way to show one aspect of the FFA to fellow students.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

Beaver Dam Daily Citizen reporter