Rural Reflections: Important experiences at Ag Fair

Farm Forum

by Connie Sieh Groop, Farm Forum Editor

Important experiences at Ag Fair

Most people weren’t aware of an important learning opportunity Tuesday. Directed at 455 fourth graders from 11 Aberdeen area schools, the event featured a variety of agricultural exhibits and information stations. The young people were welcomed to Prairie Hills Farm, just north of Aberdeen for this year’s Ag Fair by the Aberdeen Chamber Ag Committee.

More and more young people have not been on a farm or know why agriculture makes a difference in their lives. With the growing disconnect, opportunities such as these are vital to the future of our industry.

Cute baby animals are a sure way to get the attention of young people. The students were able to get close to farm babies while learning why agriculture is important to their lives. Groton FFA students shared what they’ve learned in a way that was easy to understand with solid knowledge and passion for the ag industry. Posters and diagrams helped the students understand why livestock and crop production impacts their lives.

FFAer Maryn Howard shared information about pigs and their importance. She said, “Pork is the most commonly consumed meat in the world. Pigs can run a mile in 7 minutes. Pig fat is used in making crayons. Insulin and other medicines are made from by-products. Even violin strings come from hogs.”

Carly Wheeting shared information about sheep: “Sheep have no teeth on the top; one pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn; lanolin used in lotions comes from wool, and wool can be used in insulation for houses.”

Wyatt Sombke brought some Katahdin or hair sheep to the Ag Fair. As animals raised for meat production, they shed their hair like a dog instead of having their wool sheared.

Through other FFA members and others from the community, the fourth graders learned that cows are ruminant animals and have four stomachs. They also learned what it means for a cow to chew their cud and why that is important.

Important information? It certainly is-in helping future generations support our industry and the food we provide.

Farm Forum Photo by John Davis Groton FFA members Katie Miller, left, and Kaitlyn Ringgenberg were at ease with Harold, a 13-month-old Charolais steer. Katie shared with the younger students what qualities are needed in a beef animal while Kaitlyn described how to show an animal for competition. See Page 103F for Ag Fair story and photos.