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Youngsters learn about livestock
Children took hay ride, saw crossbred cows at farm
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Tabitha Brinson, right, stands Friday with Copperhead, a 22-year-old cow, during a field trip to the Rey-Brin Farm in Gainesville. A group of students from the North Hall Summer Day Camp.500 visited to farm to learn about cows. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

What do candles, toothpaste and bandages all have in common?

They're all made from cattle byproducts.

"I never knew that toothpaste was made out of cows," said Mikaylee Crawford, 9. "I always wanted to know what leather was made out of."

Crawford and her fellow children at the North Hall Summer Day Camp visited Rey-Brin Farm in Gainesville on Friday afternoon and spent time learning about the farm's beef cattle and history.

"We're doing whatever we can to educate the kids about agriculture," said Tabitha Brinson, who owns the farm alongside her husband, Steve.

"We're surprised every year when I ask where we get hamburger or steak from and they say ‘Kroger' or ‘J&J.'"

The kids got to take a hay ride out to the pastures, where they were introduced to Rey-Brin's Braunvieh bulls and crossbred cows.

Brinson introduced the campers and counselors to the farm's oldest cow, Copperhead, who is 22 years old.

Copperhead has been around the family for so long she almost comes when called.

The land has been in the Brinson family for generations, home to cotton, chickens, cattle and a host of other agricultural operations through the years.

The barn, which was renovated in the 1980s, has wood from the original 100-year-old structure in it and features a "Rabbittown Farm" sign, leftover from a shoe store commercial filmed one Easter at Rey-Brin.

"I like the bulls, I love the roping, and it's so much history," Crawford said of the experience.

The Brinsons' son, 4-year-old Ethan, got in on the teaching action as well.

He was more than eager to share his knowledge of farm life and cattle, telling campers where different products come from and how the cattle are put in chutes to get vaccinated.

"He's been a cowboy from the beginning," Brinson said.

"He loves to teach and he's very much a leader."

This is the first year the day camp has come to Rey-Brin.

Jon Williams, pastor at Bible Baptist Church, which runs the camp, said last year campers went to a dairy farm and learned to milk cows.

"It's fun to be around the cows," Williams said. "A lot of these kids have never been on a farm and don't know anything about this life."

Lexi Barrett, 9, from Dallas, wasn't sure how she felt about cows before coming to Rey-Brin.

"I was sort of scared at first the cows were going to come after me," she said.

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